The Passing Of Jonas

In an earlier posting, I listed a few artists that I felt most influenced me in my own approach to painting. Among them was an artist that resided in the same state as I, up in the mountains, who regularly held live events in his studio.


Reared in Casablanca (yes, like the movie), without speaking a word of English, he immigrated to the United States in 1955 with his mother and sister. Within the first year, while residing in the Williamsburg area of New York, he began selling his paintings, often copies of postcards and calendar pictures.


Jonas enlisted in the Army in 1959, and performed his oath of American citizenship adorning his uniform. He spoke of having never even driven a car, but functioned in the capacity of a tank driver.


By 1966, with a newly found spiritual enlightenment, a new wife, and pending arrival of his daughter, they relocated to the area in South Florida where the art industry was gaining international interest. There he opened a gallery in Fort Lauderdale, and founded the Los Olas Art Festival, which continues to this day.


At 54, he was driving through Asheville, NC, having visited his daughter, when he became convinced that Asheville should be his new location. He set up a huge warehouse space, which would later become the cities art districts hub, and created some of the most amazing art.


His incredible body of work is a testament of the level of dedication and commitment he possessed for his art. The examples of his work are literally scattered over the entire planet, undoubtedly leaving a well-deserved legacy of his time with us.


Jonas Gerard, passed away on September 25, 2020. He was 79.


Thank you Jonas. For everything.