Dorothy Gillespie, American (1920 - 2012)

Dorothy Gillespie

Dorothy Gillespie (September 1920–30 September 2012) was an American artist and sculptor that was best known for her large and colorful abstract metal sculptural pieces. Her works are featured across Radford University in Virginia, the Lincoln Center in New York, and at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida.

Gillespie was born in Roanoke, Virginia in 1920, and from her youth she showed an affinity for art. Although her parents did not sanction her wish to attend art school, she duly enrolled at Radford University and the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore. At the Maryland Institute she met Hans Schuler, the director of the Institute, who helped to foster her career in fine art. She died on Sunday September 30, 2012.

On June 5, 1943, Gillespie moved to New York City at age twenty-three. There she took a job at the B. Altman department store as the assistant art director, and soon joined the Art Students League where she was exposed to new ideas about techniques, materials, and marketing. She also created works at Atelier 17 printmaking studio, where she was encouraged to experiment with her own ideas.She married Bernard Israel in 1946, and two children later on 1957 she decided to return to making art. By this time her style had changed; she began moving away from realism and into the abstraction that marked her career. Gillespie returned to New York in 1963 to continue her career and through the 70s worked towards feminist goals in the art industry, picketing the Whitney Museum, helping to organize the Women's Interart Center, curating exhibitions of women's art, and writing articles raising awareness of her cause. By the 1980s, Gillespie's work had come to be known internationally, and she completed many commissions for sculptures in public places.

Her work is unique in its use of ribbon-like shape and use of bright colors. A majority of her works-namely her sculptures- are crafted out of aluminum covered in enamel. A famous work is “Colorfall,” a 40-foot tall construction which hang in the lobby of Wilmington's Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts,

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