Biography

Gilly Szego, is a London artist now living in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Born in 1932, her work spans eight decades. Her career began at the age of 16 when she trained at the Byam Shaw school of art in London in 1948 until 1952. During that time, she was commissioned to paint screens for sale at Heal's, Tottenham Court Road and the 1951 mural for the Television Pavilion at the Festival of Britain, which she painted with her then-husband, Peter Bender.

Throughout the 1950s, she balanced being an artist with being a full-time mother, by painting commissioned portraits, the proceeds of which just about covered the cost of the child minding while she was painting the clients in their own homes.

In 1957 Gilly met her husband John Szego, a Silversmith, whom she did jewellery designs for, right up until his death in 2013.

She first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1968 with her painting, Red Skirt, and then again in 1969 with Putney Bridge. Vic Feather, President of the TUC, was so taken with her work at the RA exhibitions that he wrote to her to commission a full exhibition to be held at the TUC headquarters, Congress House, in 1970, for which she produced one of her best-loved pieces, a series entitled Propellers.

In 1972, after exhibiting at the Lord Mayor's Art Award Exhibition she joined the Free Painters & Sculptors.

Throughout the seventies and eighties she held exhibitions every summer at her own gallery, the Smee Summer Gallery in Eccles-on-Sea, Norfolk. It was these surroundings that inspired her to begin painting landscapes and use watercolours. A painting of St Andrew can still be seen at the church of the same name in nearby Hempstead.

In 1982 she first showed her groundbreaking exhibition Man Woman, expoloring gender and its fluidity.

Since then Gilly Szego has continued to paint right up to this day and her paintings can be found in galleries, churches, offices, and in private collection.

Gilly Szego: A Retrospective is her latest exhibition opening on 7 December 2017, showcasing over 50 pieces spanning seven decades.

It will incorporate her successful 2016 show Opposites: Conflict and the Human Mind.

Exhibitions

Mural at Byam Shaw School of Art 1950
Television Pavilion Mural at Festival of Britain 1951
Exhibited The Red Skirt at Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1968
Exhibited Putney Bridge at Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1969
Exhibition at The Windmill, West Chiltington 1969
Exhibited Propellers at Congress House 1970
Exhibition at Arthur Hands Studios 1972
Exhibited at Lord Mayor's Art Exhibition 1972
Exhibited Mother & Child at St-Martins-in-the-Fields Refugee Programme 1972 
Exhibition at Mall Galleries (Free Painters & Sculptors) 1972
Exhibited Underground Series at Mall Galleries 1974
Exhibited Underground Series at East London Gallery 1974
Exhibition at Loggia Gallery (Free Painters & Sculptors) 1974
Smee Summer Gallery opens 1974
Poems by Primo published 1980
Man Woman Exhibition at Mall Galleries 1982
Man Woman Exhibition at Wells Centre 1982
Man Woman Exhibition at St Donat's Art Centre 1982
Man Woman Exhibition at Orangerie Schloss-Glücksburg 1983
Opens John Szego Silversmiths 1984
Exhibited Urgent Action Series at Amnesty International 1994
Man Woman Exhibition at Unitarian House, Bury St Edmunds 1994
Exhibited at Bury St Edmund's Millennium Festival 2000
Exhibited Opposites: Conflict and the Human Mind at Edmund Gallery 2016