Gerald Collins Gleeson (1915-1986) was an American artist, primarily known for his superb watercolors. He is known to have painted several watercolors in the Lake Chapala area in 1981, including a street scene titled “Chapala, Mexico” and a picture of the former Railway Station in Chapala (the historic building that is now the Gonzalez Gallo Cultural Center).
Gleason was born in Providence, Rhode Island and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1930s. After serving in the second world war, he studied art with Jerry Farnsworth in Truro, Massachusetts, before spending a year in Mexico, studying at Mexico City College. He then returned to the U.S., where he settled in Berkeley, California, and studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.
Typically, his watercolors portray street and harbor scenes. While painting and exhibiting regularly in the Bay area, San Francisco, he also gave painting and drawing classes.
Gleason was a member of the Allied Artists of America. Examples of his work can be seen in many museum collections, including the Oakland Museum and the San Diego Museum in California; Attleboro Arts Museum in Maryland; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; the Salmagundi Club in New York and Tampa Museum, Florida.
His solo shows in California included exhibitions at Gallery 12 (San Francisco), Lucien Labauldt Gallery (San Francisco), Contemporary Arts (Berkeley), Alta Bates Hospital (Berkeley), Humanist House (San Francisco), University of California Medical Center (San Francisco), and Paramount Studios (Los Angeles). He also held solo shows at the Harbor Gallery in Rhode Island and the Brown Thomas Gallery in Dublin, Ireland.
- Gerald Collins Gleeson. 1990. “Gerald Collins Gleeson, California watercolorist”. (Montgomery Gallery)
- Gordon T. McClelland and Jay T. Last. 2003. California Watercolors 1850-1970: An Illustrated History & Biographical Dictionary (Hillcrest Press).
Other watercolorists who painted Lake Chapala:
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Tony Burton’s books include “Lake Chapala: A Postcard History” (2022), “Foreign Footprints in Ajijic” (2022), “If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s historic buildings and their former occupants” (2020), (available in translation as “Si Las Paredes Hablaran”), “Mexican Kaleidoscope” (2016), and “Lake Chapala Through the Ages” (2008).