Although many sources cite him as a French painter, Andre Gisson was in reality a struggling painter in New York City. To enhance his reputation, he claimed to be French and adopted the brush name of André Gisson. He also professed to have been born in 1910, rather than his true birth date of 1921, to be more closely aligned with the founders of the Impressionist movement.
Gisson’s real name was Anders Gittelson. Born in 1921 in Brooklyn, he graduated from the Pratt Institute and was a Captain in the Army during World War II. His paintings reflect his adopted Francophile persona, backed by travels and studies in Europe and the Far East, and his desire to appear cosmopolitan in background. Over four decades, his one-man shows extended from New York, Washington, Texas and California to London, Paris and Tokyo.
Gisson's landscapes, beach scenes, and portraits were intended to create a reflective mood of serenity. The still-lifes show Japanese influence in his work, while the French influence is more pronounced in his landscapes, beach scenes and studies of the human figure. However, there is little question that the artist approached his subject matter with a singular gesture, and with the “romantic” history of his persona, Gisson has a strong following among collectors of his works.
Paintings by Andre Gisson can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Triton Museum of Art, in North Carolina. Among his private collectors were President Lyndon B. Johnson and W. Somerset Maugham.