HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT.- Abstract painter Cleve Gray, 86, died. He gained recognition after producing large abstract paintings by pouring, staining and sponging paint. The Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College commissioned in 1972 the series "Threnody," measuring 20 feet by 20 feet. The works were dedicated to the dead on both sides in the Vietnam War.
The artist was born Cleve Ginsberg in New York on September 22, 1918. He studied art and archaeology at Princeton. Cleve Gray began his artistic career in the late 1940's. Inspired by Cubism after years of study in Europe with Andre Lhote and Jacques Villon, Cleve returned to the United States when the American Abstract Expressionist movement was sweeping the New York art scene. Always an individualist, he pursued a personal course toward his own remarkable abstraction which fuses the foundation of Cubism with the energy and restraint of Far Eastern Art.
Throughout his career, Cleve Gray's work has been the subject of museum exhibitions and can be found in public and private collections throughout the United States. In 1998 a two-year traveling retrospective exhibition entitled Cleve Gray: Painter, A Quarter of A Century opened at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio traveled to the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine, to the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York and to the William Benton Museum in Storrs, Connecticut. The exhibition spanned twenty-five years of painting highlighting the artist's passion with the expression of line, his ongoing exploration of the calligraphic line and the dynamics of color.