ALBERT EARL GILBERT
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
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
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
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.