Although world-renowned artist, Gideon, 86, died Dec. 21 at his home and studios in Thomasville, Georgia, the art he gave the world will live throughout history.
Born in 1924 in Overland Park, Kansas, Gideon struggled through the Great Depression along with everyone else. His interest in art, however, surpassed any material disadvantages he might have had. The Depression, in fact, may have been the very thing that forced him to look beyond conventional ways of creating art.
His ability to create and innovate, regardless circumstances would become a pillar of his artistic legacy, and has been and will continue to be a role model for budding artists all over the world.
Throughout his life, Gideon allowed his inborn artistic talent to guide him in the development of revolutionary paints and sculpting compounds, technique, form and application. In his lifetime, he created more than 20,000 original works of art, and his paintings and sculptures include some of the world’s most known subjects, including his famous Holocaust Collection, based on his experience as an Army Ranger.
He enlisted in the Army in 1943, and was assigned to the 66th “Black Panther” Division and placed in Field Artillery. He was one of only a few in his division selected to become an Army Ranger.
In Salzburg, Austria, Gideon was charged with the task of guarding SS captives and tending to displaced persons. There, he witnessed things that haunted him day and night throughout his life. Obsessed by the visions he experienced, he painted and sculpted some of the most haunting and poignant images of the holocaust and its aftermath ever produced.
After the war, Gideon, settled in Miami, Florida with $300 and began his commercial art career. He married and had two children shortly after moving to Miami.
In the ‘50s and ‘60s, he worked under contract with many businesses providing original works for marketing campaigns, as well as providing large art prints for reproduction companies and famous hotels.
For decades, Gideon created hundreds of magnificent paintings and sculptures. His heavy, thick paint was often a staple signature of his unique works. Coupled with heavy sculptured frames that Gideon made himself, these classics are highly sought by private collectors.
Over the years, Gideon created one of the most prolific collections of artwork by any one man. His private collection consists of more than 5,000 original works.
In November of 2002, Gideon left Miami after 56 years and moved to Thomasville, Georgia, in an effort to get away from city life and rest peacefully.