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Eric Gill & His Airbrush

I tried like crazy to find out any information on Eric Gill but I had very little luck.  What I was able to find out was that the art he created during the 1930’s in his Honolulu atelier, is some of the most sought after and enduring Hawaiian Vintage imagery created during the “Golden era” of travel to the Islands. I guess he belongs to the same club that Carlo of Hollywood is a part of , the one that has no information about them, were they afraid of success? Anyways I love Gill’s work and to me it has the same feel to it as the Carlo of Hollywood pieces, but make no mistake he has his own style.

I am about to come into some Carlo of Hollywood frames in the the forced perspective style that do not have any artwork. My intention is to purchase some of Gill’s artwork and place them into these frames. I am sure once they are installed in these frames they will look right at home in our Tiki lounge.

Anyways, here are some of his Hawaiian images that he airbrushed. They are soo Hawaiian………enjoy!

Click on images to enlarge

Look at the dramatic motion he captures

As I mentioned in the comments section of this post Mel and I purchased a city scape airbrushed and water colored by Gill. This might even be an original considering it still has the sticker on the back. I see similar styles when compared to the Hawaiian pieces. Anyways let me know what you think.

Here it is in the original frame it came in. I don't like the frame but since its original I will keep it in it.

Great colors. I can see both airbrush and water colors used in this piece.

The signature matches the signature on the Hawaiian pieces......it's got to be him!

Here is the label on the sealed back of this Gill piece.

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28 responses »

  1. Omigod, I feel like I just had the wind knocked out of me. These are incredible & I don’t think I’ve ever seen any before. How did you even find any? Isn’t it frustrating to not be able to find info about such important work & their creators. Hm, new Carlo frames eh? I swear, I’m going picking with you one of these days!

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    • I do have a piece by him but it is a landscape one that we purchased at 57th street Antiques. Mel and I saw another picture by him in S.F. and again it was a landscape. You really don’t come across his work very often and when you do it seems to be his less desirable ones not his Hawaiian pieces.

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  2. Gill
    One of the most reknowned airbrush artists of the Golden Era of Hawaiian art, Gill originally thought to be from San Francisco remains mysterious and elusive, and is identified only by signature. Scores of collectors of Hawaiian art from the 1930s-50s have researched the artist and yet, to date the actual name and biography remain undiscovered. In fact the artists gender has not been defined. The art of Gill reflects a time period of Hawaiiana during which several artists began employing a method of air brushed stenciling. Through a series of layering, rich and complex textures were achieved. Unfortunately, as WWII unfolded, artist’s materials became of lesser quality and consequently, few originals have been preserved. Gill’s work however, is today regarded as among the finest and most recognizable of the period.

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  3. Hi,
    I bought four of Gill’s paintings that are very similar to the street scene piece you have, they were also framed by Parmelee.
    If you would like, please send me an email address and I will send you pictures of them. They are original mixed media pieces as well.
    Kate
    PS Interesting, the signature is missing on one of them. I’ll bet he painted and sold quite a few back in the day.

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  4. Awhile back purchased a Gill painting, didn’t know too much about the artist and finally stumbled upon this website. From information gathered, other paintings were smaller but this one was quite large (30×25 in). Would anyone have any info on where I might find a buyer or estimated value of this piece? Here are (hopefully) some pictures attached.

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  5. I was hoping to find the value of the piece so I dont ask too little or too much.

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  6. Hi to everyone. I just stumbled onto this website and wanted to add about 8 original paintings of Gill. 5 are San Francisco Scenes, and one is an airbrush of Roosters, and two look like from Europe. Once I know how to add the pictures I will do it. Thanks.

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    • Hey Will just email me them at hepcatrestorations@yahoo.com and I will post them.

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    • Will,
      I am amazed by your originals, such nice work. It is definitely San Francisco. I believe that your Roosters however is Polynesian. I believe I have an original that is framed in the same type of style as the Roosters. The other side of the coin, is that I have never seen the likes of the work I have. It is signed by Gill in red. May I ask where you got your works? My mother found the work I have now, some odd 30-35 years ago, in a storage unit in Corvallis, Oregon. By the way the work is of a Polynesian woman, up close and personal (from the shoulders up) with a huge white flower in her dark hair (she is also of a darker complexion). She is looking toward the left. The frame itself is 25″ x 27″, with the picture approximately 11 1/2″ x 14 1/2″. Thanks for your spectacular images. Thanks too, to this site, for all your excellent info. Gill sure seems to be a mysterious character. i don’t believe that this Gill is the same Eric Gill of England. Who is this person?
      Mike

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      • Hi Mike..Sorry that I am replying so late, I have not been here for sometime and just noticed your message. All of my works came from different Thrift Stores and at different times, starting from about 1985 until about 1995. Since then I have not been to too many thrift stores due to so many people treasure hunting to then sell on ebay. I am sure some are still around though. By the way…Have you ever thought about making prints from your works ? I have seen lot’s of people on ebay selling prints of Gill Hawaiana and started wondering if that would be a nice way to make a few extra bucks on the side while still being able to keep my originals. I really love my Gills and how the artist style differs between the airbrush and paintings. Anyway, I would love to see your’s if you post one day. Thanks.
        Will.

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  7. have one picture similar to the cityscape you posted (with french stores),. I don’t see the pictures that were sent by “Will” – where are these posted?

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  8. Hello, I have 2 Gill paintings (original) . The first 1 is San Francisco landscape and 2nd one is San Francisco Bay bridge scene. Anyone interested ??

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  9. Hi folks.. Just cleared my in-laws estate.. I have an awesome original Gill.. Always thought it was a geisha girl. Beautifully matted and framed in wood by Permelee San Francisco.. Would love to find a reasonable buyer for it..

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  10. I have two for sale Hawaiian fisher man and lady with a sor..

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    • Hi John,
      Did you ever sell your Gill paintings?

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      • I have a few of his paintings. Someday we’ll find out more about this mystery man. I do know he painted at the same time the great Kelly was around as well as Mundorff, Tip Freeman, Frank Oda, Macintosh and of course Eugene Savage.

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  11. My daughters has 2 from her grandmother of Hawaiians, fisherman and woman, purchased a large seascape and gave it to her, they are originals, Parmelee in. San Francisco framed them all. Her grandmother may have purchased them from Parmelee in the 40’s. she just found more online, 2 street landscapes, Paris maybe? We understand that he may not have ever lived in Hawaii and did not only Hawaiian scales, but a dealer in California had several
    Chinese, Asian themes.

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    • I recently (last month) just missed purchasing a pair of Gill pictures at the Long Beach Antiques Market. They were definitely more of an Asian / Bali feel than Hawaiian. I got there about 1 minute too late to purchase them. The guy wanted $450 for the pair; they had the Parmelee stickers on the back as well. I have searched online and only see the Hawaiian ones in reproduction. Wish I could stumble across some other originals.

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  12. I have this old painting that I am guessing is from the 40’s that I bought at a garage sale in Sonoma CA around 1975. It appears to be an original and signed by Gill. Odd that no one knows who this person was. I see that some of the work goes for $800 to $10,000. I have not seen any other figures quite like these. On the back is written “50D-11 #1692″. That being the case it could be a print but look like the real deal.

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