Gies bio


Joseph W. Gies (1860-1935)

Joseph Gies was a significant connection to the Detroit painting scene. Born in Detroit in 1860, he spent most of his life in and around the area; except for his studies abroad with William A. Bouguereau and Robert-Fleury in Paris; Royal Academy in Munich. His contributions to the local art community were meaningful.     

In 1890 the Detroit Museum School was formed. That year Joseph Gies became an important member of the painting faculty. In 1895, the Art Club of Detroit was formed and held its first annual exhibition. Robert Hopkin, Joseph Gies and Francis Petrus Paulus were involved in the exhibition, which consisted of a display of contemporary American artists, including a substantial local contingent plus American and European paintings lent by private collectors. 

Also, in 1895, Gies and Paulus opened the Detroit Fine Arts Academy. When Paulus returned to Europe, the portraitist John Palmer Wicker, who taught with Gies at the Museum School took his place as co-director. The Fine Arts Academy was renamed the Wicker School of Fine Arts, after Gies retired in 1911 to resume full-time painting.


  • Detroit Institute of Fine Art


  • Scarab Club


  • Who Was Who In American Art
  • Mantle Fielding's
  • Art Across America, Vol.2


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