Gentry’s subject matter is inherently social, and nearly always peopled. He was deeply influenced by jazz, which emerges as a powerful presence in the rhythms of his paintings. His figures are outlined by color – breathing and gregarious, often an inherent sweetness emerges with the childlike openness.
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Mr. Gentry was raised in Harlem during its heyday, the highly creative period before World War II. He served as a member of the Armed Forces during that period and his commitment to art was defined by his return to Paris in 1946 where he studied painting. Releasing his experiences upon the canvas his autobiographical elements are propelled through feeling in spontaneous painting. “I paint what I experience, who I am, in the Black world, especially in America, there’s a thing that you can’t forget where you came from, you paint from your experiences, who you are”
Gentry’s paintings are included in numerous museum collections from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts and in collections in Finland, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and many other countries.
Education : WPA Art Program, Roosevelt High School; New York University 1940-1942; Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales in Paris 1946-1949; L'Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris 1946-1949.
Teaching : L'Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris 1949; Montclair State College 1980-1982; Rutgers University 1987; Artist-in-Residence at Columbia University Teacher's College 2000.
Exhibitions : (one-man) Steve Turner Gallery in Beverly Hills 2002; Macy Gallery at Teachers College at Columbia 2000; G.R. N'Namdi Gallery in Chicago 2000; Molloy College 2000; Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans 1998; Quick Art Center at Bonaventure University in Olean, NY 1995; Alitash Kebede Gallery in Los Angeles 1994; Galerie Futura in Stockholm 1993; Ragnarpers in Garsnas Sweden 1993; Capitol East Graphics in Washington, DC 1991; Gallery Altes Rathaus i Basel, Germany 1990; La Maison Francaise at New York University 1986; Owl 57 Gallery in Woodmere 1984; Randall Gallery in New York 1978; Montclair State College 1977; Royal Art Academy in Stockholm for a 20-year retrospective; Andre Zarre Gallery 1974; and many others throughout Europe and the United States.
Exhibitions : (group) James E. Lewis Museum of Art in Baltimore 2002; Steve Turner Gallery "Not Just February : African American Art 1817-2001" N'Namdi Gallery in Detroit "Jacob Lawrence and his contemporaries"; Michael Rosenfeld Gallery "African American Art 20th Century Masterworks VII" ; Futura Gallery in Stockholm "Bara Konst"; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York Public Library "Black New York Artists of the 20th Century"; Hirshhorn Museum " Hirshhorn Collects : Recent Acquisitions"; New Orleans Museum of Art "Explorations in the City of Light" 1996; Cathedral of St. John the Divine "Black Beauty" 1995; Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth "Studio Museum in Harlem : 25 years." 1995; Terry Dintnefass Gallery "By their choice" 1994; Bronx Museum "Another Perspective" 1993; National Museum of American Art 1991; Larssons Art in Cologne Germany 1990; Reader's Digest 1989; Newark Museum "Twentieth Century African American Artists" 1985; Bucknell University "Since the Harlem Renaissance" 1984; and others throughout the world.
Holdings : Amos Andersson Museum in Finland; Basel Konstmuseum in Switzerland; Biblioteca Comunale di Milano in Italy; Biblioteque Nationale de aris; Bronx Museum; Brooklyn Museum; Carnegie Institute; DeYoung Museum; Everson Museum; Hampton University Art Museum; Hirshhorn Museum; Malmo Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Morgan State University; Musee de Grenoble; Museo Espanol de Arte Contemporain in Madrid; National Museum of American Art; National Museum of Modern Art in New Delhi India; Newark Museum; San Jose Museum of Art; Schomberg Collection; Skissernas Museum in Sweden; Statens Museum for Kunst in Denmark; St. Bonaventure University; Stedelikj Museum in the Netherlands; Studio Museum in Harlem; Wadsworth Atheneum.