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Cleve Gray

Cleve Gray
Born (1918-09-22)September 22, 1918
New York City
Died December 8, 2004(2004-12-08) (aged 86)
Hartford, Connecticut
Nationality American
Known for Abstract expressionist

Cleve Gray (born September 22, 1918 in New York City; died December 8, 2004 in Hartford, Connecticut) was as an American Abstract expressionist painter, who was also associated with Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction.


  • Biography 1
    • Training 1.1
      • Arizona 1.1.1
  • World War II 2
    • Post-war 2.1
  • Connecticut 3
  • Career 4
    • Death 4.1
  • Publications 5
  • Museum collections 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8


He was born Cleve Ginsberg. The family changed their name to Gray in 1936.[1]


He attended the Yuan dynasty landscape painting.[2][1][3] Gray retained a lifelong passion for Asian art after focusing on it at Princeton.


After graduation in 1941 he moved to Tucson, Arizona. In Arizona he exhibited his landscape paintings and still lifes at the Alfred Messer Studio Gallery in Tucson.

World War II

In 1942 he returned to New York and joined the United States Army. During World War II he served in Britain, France and Germany. In Germany he sketched wartime destruction. After the liberation of Paris he was the first American GI to greet Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein. He began informal art training with French artists André Lhote and Jacques Villon. He continued his art studies in Paris after the war.[2][1]


He returned to the United States in 1946. During the Post-war period he began to exhibit his work at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris, and he had his first solo exhibition at the Jacques Seligmann Gallery in New York in 1947.


In 1949 he moved to the house his parents had owned on a 94-acre (380,000 m2) property in Warren, Connecticut, and lived there until his death. He married the noted author Francine du Plessix April 23, 1957. They worked in studios in separate outbuildings separated by a driveway.[1][3]

In the 1960s, after forming a friendship with colleague Barnett Newman, Gray moved on from his tendencies towards French inspirations and was able to find his own unique style which he used over his last 42 years.[4]


He was a veteran of scores of exhibitions beginning in Paris and recently in 2002 at the Berry-Hill Gallery in New York City. His paintings are in the collections of numerous important museums and institutions.[1] In 2009 art critic Karen Wilkin curated a posthumous retrospective of his work at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.


His wife of 47 years, writer, Francine du Plessix Gray reported that he died of "massive subdural hematoma suffered after he fell on ice and hit his head."[1][5][6]


  • Contributing editor for Art in America, from 1960
  • Editor, David Smith by David Smith, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (1968)
  • Editor, John Marin by John Marin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (1970)
  • Editor, Hans Richter by Hans Richter, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (1971)
  • Buck, Jr., Robert T.; Hess, Thomas B. (1977). Cleve Gray: Paintings, 1966-1977.  
  • Buck, Robert. Cleve Gray Works on Paper 1940-1986,The Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1986

Museum collections

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f  
  2. ^ a b "Cleve Gray, an abstract painter, died on December 8th, aged 86".  
  3. ^ a b "Miss du Plessix Engaged to Wed".  
  4. ^ Gray, Francine du Plessix. Shades of Gray. Art+Auction, March 2009.
  5. ^ "Cleve Gray." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2006. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Document Number: K2015772466. Fee. Accessed 2008-10-31.
  6. ^ Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Document Number: H1000038983. Entry updated: 20 March 2006. Fee. Accessed 2008-10-31.
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