New York

Bernard Gilardi, It’s a Draw, 1963, oil on Masonite, 36 × 48".

Bernard Gilardi

SHRINE

The poet and critic Parker Tyler, in the 1943 issue of View magazine titled “America Fantastica,” observed that the fantastic in art, “while primitive, is also sophisticated, since it makes direct appeal to that anarchy of elements which binds the most rational man to the lunatic.” I believe Tyler would have immediately recognized Bernard Gilardi as an artist of this stripe, and, if labels are useful at all, I find this a more informative way to explain what kind of artist he was than trotting out more conventional rubrics such as outsider, self-taught, or naïve. Born in 1920, Gilardi spent his life in Milwaukee, where he briefly attended a local art school, got married, then raised a family in a devout Catholic household while working in the printing trade. He never sought to exhibit the paintings he made on nights and weekends, and his wife did not want the products of his hobby hung in

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