Wilhelmi makes his home on Halfbreed Creek south of Roundup, Montana, with his wife and business partner, Cheryl. His twin daughters, Andrea and Juliet, graduates of Macalester College, live in Minneapolis. The Wilhelmi home is built around a historic log cabin, circa 1893. Gregory’s studio is on the property.
Becoming an artist was always Wilhelmi’s desired career path. After studies at Montana State University Billings and Bozeman, he left Montana for the University of Denver where he finished his BFA. Success soon followed as an editorial illustrator and political cartoonist for the Catholic Press Society. He left the business of art to pursue his fine art career with an extended trip through Mexico painting watercolors outdoors. He also painted his way across Europe. His first one-man exhibition included these paintings, in Denver, in 1975.
Following the opening of his Denver studio and agency, Wilhelmi settled into the vibrant Denver art scene, including gallery shows and commercial representation. He also relished teaching life drawing and color theory when recruited by the Colorado Institute of Art.
Wilhelmi’s success, however, could not temper his yearning for central Montana. During his many round-trip junkets between Denver and Montana, his connection to the beauty and intimacy of the land deepened. In 1992 he moved his family to the prairie and bucolic Roundup. “As a boy and a young man, I developed this love of place. It never left me. It was like getting reacquainted with a dear friend. After all the years I could see it anew, and through the eyes of a more mature artist.”
All of these experiences comprise the basis for Wilhelmi’s work. His paintings reflect a wide variety of life’s explorations and travels, encompassing studies of Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, and his favorite subject, the American West. He views the American West in the here and now, not the glorified old West, but the unsentimental view of life in the prairie towns, the sometimes abandoned buildings in the shadow of the Rocky Mountain front range. “The complexities and visual possibilities that evolve from this reality have had a significant influence on my life and my art.”
Wilhelmi’s work is published and distributed internationally by Editions Limited, San Francisco. Wilhelmi’s paintings have been collected, exhibited and sold in various museums (including the Holter Art Museum, Missoula Art Museum, Yellowstone Art Museum and CM Russell Museum), auctions and galleries worldwide. His one-man exhibitions include the Yellowstone Art Museum, the Nicolaysen Art Museum and the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association.
Artist Chat, December 2018, Coila Evans Art Gallery, Roundup, Montana:
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