Using the phrase
“physical lyricism” to describe his earlier work, John Hersey
is best known for his larger scale abstract paintings. Although his recent
cast bronze and welded steel sculpture carries much of the feeling of that
period, his more recent paintings have been primarily figurative.
Throughout, John Hersey has continued his drawings, paintings, and
Hersey was born in New York City in 1943, son of journalist and author
John Hersey and Frances Ann Cannon. He attended the Pomfret School in
Connecticut where he began painting under the tutelage of Charles Cole. He
studied under Victor De Pau before entering Yale University as an Art and
Architecture major. During his university years, John also worked for the
architect John M. Johansen, A.I.A., studied Drawing at Stanford
University, and Philosophy of Art and Painting at the University of
California at Berkeley.
John Hersey received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale in 1965
and entered the Yale School of Architecture. He studied photography with
Walker Evans. Following graduate school, he worked as draftsman for various
architectural firms in New York City, most notably with John M.
Johansen again. John Hersey lived in Paris and Rome before
establishing a painting studio and darkroom in New York City in the early
In 1983, John Hersey opened Gallery Hirondelle, Inc. in Soho, NYC,
representing a spectrum of contemporary artists until 1988. As Chairman of
Cast the Sleeping Elephant, a project of the artist Mihail, Hersey
assisted in funding (enlisting Namibia as a donor nation) and creating a
life-size cast bronze bull elephant that was placed in the gardens of the
United Nations in New York in 1998 as a symbol of all wildlife.
Hersey presently lives and works in Millbrook, NY.