"Between my sister, brother and me," writes Jenifer Gillen Cohn, "we have approximately 20 of Denver's original paintings."
"I am so amazed, every time I look at these illustrations. I just cannot believe how beautiful they are. By the way, I don't know whether I mentioned this or not but, Pop did not like hunting. So, when he was commissioned to a hunting cover, he would give nobility to the animals and depersonalize the hunters. He said it was not a conscience effort on his part, but nevertheless, hoped that his clients never discovered the truth."
"I've been working on putting on a gallery show of my father's original Outdoor Life magazine cover paintings. The gallery is the Bruce Webber Gallery in town here. The show will be opening on December 6, with a reception, and will run through December 24."
"Bruce has been in touch with Illustration House regarding my father's Outdoor Life cover paintings. He spoke with Walt Reed himself who remembers my father very fondly and is very eager to sell his work. He estimates that the initial value of the covers will be $2000 t0 $3000."
"My sister and I agreed to send, through the Webber Gallery, one fishing and one hunting cover painting to be auctioned, just to test the waters."
"I'm hazy on what [Denver] produced during the 70's... work dropped off with some of his large clients such as Outdoor Life for whom he had been doing almost half the covers a year. My parents were living in Mexico then, and I was living in Boston, so I did not have the daily updates. However, Pop was really concentrating on his own creations by then, traveling to New York to pick up commercial jobs from time to time."
"[A lot of] stuff was left in Mexico after my mother's death. We three kids had to close up the house and try to salvage as much of their personal belongings as well as the artwork and artifacts that had been accumulated over the years. We were in no position to save everything, unfortunately. My sister and brother and I stuffed as much of the artwork as we could into portfolios and suitcases. All of the remaining framed paintings were shipped to galleries that had been representing Denver when he was alive. Tons of press proofs had to be tossed out."
"Pop was very concerned about the growing tendency by magazines, even in his day, to use photography as a way of illustrating stories. My local newspaper editor, who did an article last Christmas regarding Pop's "Rudolph", asked me if Pop would have become computer literate if he were still an illustrator today. I know the answer in my gut -- NO! But, he was 60 when he died. And, he had been winding down from magazine illustration after Mimi and he moved to Mexico permanently."
"He concentrated on his painting and was producing lovely, complex works that warranted gallery shows. He was represented in many fine galleries, primarily in the Southwest, since his main subject matter was the Mexican lifestyle. He was doing commissioned portraits as well, with an original style that incorporated imagery of the persons life into the work. "
"I am very glad that my parents fell in love with Mexico. They were able to have a very lovely and financially secure lifestyle there. Being where the Yankee dollar went a lot further, Pop was able to handle the transition from full-time illustrator to doing gallery shows."
"His goal was to be represented at a showing in Mexico City. And fortunately, he was able to realize that dream."
*If you're in the Lake Worth, Florida area, this is your chance to see Denver Gillen's beautiful originals in person. The show at the Webber Gallery opens tomorrow (December 7th, 2007) and runs until the 24th.
My heartfelt thanks to Jenifer Gillen Cohn for sharing so many personal memories of her Pop, Denver Gillen, with us this past week.
Denver Gillen Flickr set.