<font color="#808080">GILBERT, Albert Earl</font>

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ALBERT EARL GILBERT
(
1939 - )

Albert Earl Gilbert, the oldest of the three children of Albert and Alice Gilbert, was born on August 22, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois. His father, who was an excellent tool and die maker, helped develop his son's penchant for detail by coaching him in the construction and painting of model airplanes.

He and his father also made numerous trips to the Brookfield Zoo on the outskirts of Chicago. It was there that he began his very early studies of birds and animals. Also among the fond memories of his early childhood are the trips to the Milwaukee Railroad tracks to watch for the great old passenger engine, Hiawatha. At that time it was one of the fastest engines in existence and Gil was fascinated by its speed and beauty.

By the time he reached high school there was no doubt in his mind as to the direction his life would take. He played hooky often and with a sandwich stuffed in his pocket, went to the zoo or for a hike in the woods. There, with sketchbook in hand, he spent the day drawing the animals and absorbing all he could about them.

As his work progressed he realized that if he were to improve, he would need the advice and criticism of a knowledgeable individual. He began corresponding with Dr. George Miksch Sutton, scientist and artist at the University of Oklahoma. Gil sent Dr. Sutton packages of his work and Dr. Sutton criticized them. These special comments on his work from a seasoned professional had a definite bearing on his success.

In his senior year in high school Gil participated in a state-wide scholarship examination and won a full four year scholarship to the University of Illinois. While attending the University he met Nylene Myers, a pretty coed with an interest in both art and wildlife. A year later they were married in the campus chapel of the University of Chicago.

For the first two years after he was married, Gil held a position as a park ranger for the Cook County Forest Preserve in Illinois. The pay was good and it offered plenty of security, but the urge to paint on a full-time basis was too great. In 1964 he made the decision to quit his job as ranger and launch his career as a free-lance artist.

He and Nylene moved to Connecticut so that they could be close to the New York market and still raise a family in the country. On the edge of a nature preserve just 95 miles from New York City they made their home and raised their children, Andy, Kathy and Karl.

Through the years Gil gained the reputation of being an artist who paints from personal knowledge of his subject. This knowledge was gained through expeditions to East Africa, Madagascar, the Amazon jungle, Mexico and Trinidad to name a few. Most of these expeditions were sponsored through the American Museum of Natural History. The museum demanded accuracy and attention to detail and Gil's work met their standards on both counts.

While he was in Africa, he climbed Eagle Hill with Leslie Brown, the renowned authority on eagles and other birds of prey. Gil was the fifth American to have climbed to the top.

Gil's mission as an artist includes drawing attention to the plight of much of our wildlife. He has donated many original paintings and prints to help raise funds to protect and preserve endangered species and their habitat. In this way he hopes his art will have a direct bearing on the survival of the world's wildlife.














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