August F. Gay Biography

Born in Rabou, France on June 11, 1890.  “Gus” Gay arrived in the U.S. about 1901 and settled in Alameda, CA.  He attended night classes at the California School of Fine Arts and the California College of Arts & Crafts.  His roommate, Selden Gile, had a strong influence on his creative growth and the two artists were the first of a group who became known as the Society of Six.  Although he lived in Monterey after 1919, he was still an active member of the Six and exhibited regularly with them at the Oakland Art Gallery until 1926.  Gay supported himself during the depression as an employee of the local fish factories and Oliver’s Frame Shop.  While in Monterey he shared a studio with Clayton S. Price in the Stevenson House.  During the last ten years of his life he was a furniture designer and custom framer for the Monterey Guild (the furniture in the San Juan Bautista Mission is from his shop) and lived on the Monterey Peninsula until his death on March 9, 1948.  Many of his oils were painted on cigar box tops.  His interpretations of the Carmel Valley, coastal scenes, and the fishing fleet of Monterey Bay were Cubist inspired and geometric in form.  Gay’s work did not receive national recognition until the 1950’s.