Gilbert Lewis: Portraits of Tony 1986 to 1995

Exhibition Info
Historic Landmark Building
Curators
Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art
PAFA will present an exhibition of approximately 25 paintings by beloved Philadelphia artist Gilbert Lewis. Known for his sensitive and exquisite portraits of young men, curator Jodi Throckmorton will focus on Lewis’ working relationship with model, Tony, whom Lewis painted hundreds of times. This exhibition proves the importance of Lewis’ work within the distinguished history of figurative painting in Philadelphia.

In the summer and fall of 2020, PAFA will present an exhibition of approximately 25 paintings by beloved Philadelphia artist Gilbert Lewis (b. 1945). Lewis is a longstanding fixture of the Philadelphia art community—as an art therapist, teacher, and clerk at a local art supply store (many have stories about his useful advice)—yet his work has had little exposure at Philadelphia museums.

PAFA’s exhibition will focus on one model—Tony—whom Lewis painted hundreds of times in the 1980s. The history of art in Philadelphia—especially PAFA—is essential to the study of figurative art in the United States. Lewis’ work represents an important queer perspective on this tradition that has yet to be fully recognized.

The Woodmere Museum of Art and the William Way LGBT Community Center are planning concurrent exhibitions of Lewis’ work so that Philadelphia can fully celebrate this artist who had such a meaningful impact on his community.

Select Featured Works

Gilbert Lewis, Male Torso, 1986
Gilbert Lewis, Male Torso, 1986 © Gilbert Lewis

Gilbert Lewis, [Seated man, orange shirt, scarf], 1982.jpg
Gilbert Lewis, [Seated man, orange shirt, scarf], 1982 © Gilbert Lewis