Biography

John Grillo was an American painter, sculptor, and lithographer, and was a pioneer of Abstract Expressionism. He was born in Lawrence, MA, in 1917, and studied at the Hartford School of Fine Arts from 1935 to 1938, as well as at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco from 1945-1947. The son of a painter and sculptor, John Grillo’s artistic aptitude developed at an early age. In an interview with Dorothy Seckler, he recounted one of his most vivid childhood memories: “I opened a closet and I felt some little things in the closet and I stared to squeeze them and they happened to be tubes of paint. And I got them on my hands and face and... I went to school that way.” (1) From this humble (and messy) beginning, Grillo continued to practice art as a young man, eventually attending several formal art academies. Grillo’s work is included in many museum collections, including the Allentown Art Museum; Butler Institute of American Art; Georgia Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Smith College Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; The Brooklyn Museum of Art; The Newark Museum; the Wadsworth Athenaeum; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.