Gail (Soliwoda) Cassilly
American (St. Louis), b. 1947
Nude, 1985
Fiberglass, signed and dated
Full-length and near life-size figure of a young beauty in pigtails.

From humble roots as a second-generation Polish-American, the daughter of a fireman named "Salty" who lost his life rescuing another child when the artist was only eleven, to co-founder of one of St. Louis' most treasured downtown landmarks, Gail Cassilly's claim to regional fame and international respect is hallmarked by idiosyncrasies that rival ex-husband Bob Cassilly's Pieta incident.

Love-at-first-sight came to young Cassilly in the form of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, on visit at her high school (the artist's well-rounded appreciation for Buddhism and Hinduism unaffected). She eloped ("escaped") at only nineteen, spending a decade with the order between her early St. Louis art education and her first teaching post in Malawi. An army of South African art students in tow, Cassilly led local village beautification by way of doorway graffiti.

When Gail left the order, the only road was back to St. Louis, where she entrenched herself in the infancy of the M.F.A. program at Fontbonne College, a teaching position at John Burroughs High School, and Bob Cassilly, or "Chainsaw", a mate capable of both stealing Gail's passport on motorcycle-back to appointing her Director of the still-embryotic City Museum. They raise two adopted children in the time Gail is not crouched in the belly of a whale with plaster and sandpaper in hand.

Outside the realm of the couple's downtown tour de force, Cassilly has produced an unknown number of bronze, concrete, and composition sculptures of her own that are still in circulation around St. Louis.

  • 61 1/2 x 14 1/2 x 20 in. (156.2 x 36.8 x 50.8 cm.)
  • Artist Name:
  • Gail (Soliwoda) Cassilly
  • Medium:
  • Fiberglass, signed and dated
  • Condition:
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December 14, 2023 10:00 AM CST
St. Louis, MO, US

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