|Elmo Clifford Gideon, 86
Historic Miami Artist and Sculptor Gideon, 86, passed away on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at his home and studios in Thomasville, Georgia after a lengthy illness.
(Spouse of Barbara Jean "Heather" Walker
daughter of Geneva Mahala Cook and Gordon Walker Sr.)
Described as an “artist who borders on being an elemental force” whose own ambitions guided him in the development of revolutionary paints and sculpting compounds, technique and form and application that enabled him to create over 20,000 original works of art during his life. His paintings and sculptures include some of the world’s most known subjects, including the famous Gideon Holocaust Collection.
Gideon was born in 1924 in Overland Park, Kansas. Growing up during The Great Depression made life very difficult. Despite these struggles, his interest in art persevered from an early age. The ability to create and innovate with limited means would become a pillar of his artistic legacy.
In 1943, Gideon enlisted in the Army. Based in Camp Blanding, Florida, he was assigned to the 66th “Black Panther” Division and placed in Field Artillery. He was one of a few in his division who became an Army Ranger. In Salzburg, Austria, overwhelmed with homeless civilians and displaced persons liberated from the concentration camps, Army Ranger Gideon was charged with the task of guarding SS captives and tending to displaced persons.
Gideon witnessed, first hand, things that have haunted both his dreams and his waking hours through all of the intervening years. Obsessed by the visions he experienced, Gideon would go on to paint and sculpt some of the most harrowing and poignant images of post-Holocaust Europe ever produced.
|After the war, Gideon settled in Miami, Florida, with “decorations for valor, memories of the kind of combat duty that scars you somewhere inside, and $300.” Shortly after his arrival in Miami, he got married and had two children while beginning his commercial art career. |
Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, Gideon was contracted by many businesses to provide original works en masse. From an orange juice producer in Lakeland, Florida, to large art prints and reproduction companies and famous hotels, Gideon was in high demand and by some considered the “Top-Selling U.S. Artist.”
With family life and the commercial art taking most of his time, Gideon still managed to learn, experiment and create what he calls his “serious work.” He did this both for his own study, as well as to sell to individual art collectors.
For decades, Gideon created hundreds of magnificent paintings and sculptures. His heavy, thick paint was often a staple signature of his unique works. Coupled with heavy sculptured frames that Gideon made himself, these classics are highly sought by private collectors.
Over the years, Gideon created one of the most prolific collections of art work by any one man. His private collection consists of over 5,000 original works. In recent years, Gideon sought a private collector, or museum, or “treasure hunter”, to acquire his personal collection and share it and his life story with society and generations to come.
In November of 2002, Gideon left Miami after 56 years and moved to Thomasville, Georgia, in an effort to get away from city life and rest peacefully.
Gideon is survived by his wife Heather Gideon, sister Eloise Flood, daughter Terry and husband Ed Markham, son Richter and wife Kathy Gideon, granddaughter Jennifer (Markham) Mabe, and grandsons Erik and Adam Markham, and Richter Gideon Jr, and great-granddaughters Ashton and Autumn Mabe, and Bailey and Erika Markham.
Services will be held Thursday, Dec. 30 at 6 pm in the chapel at Allen & Allen funeral home, 110 Hansel St, Thomasville, Ga. 229-226-6331. Visitation will be afterwards in the Gideon family home. 229-226-8468.
For more information on Gideon, please visit the artist’s website www.GideonMuseum.org. Donations may be sent to the Gideon Memorial, PO Box 2956, Thomasville, Georgia, 31799.