John Gable

John’s work is published by permission.

Please do not republish this material without prior consent by Dean’s Garage.

John Gable is an original and incisive artist. His distinct sense of composition infuses his work with a quality of light and atmosphere that creates a mood beyond Realism. The viewer shares Gable’s intimacy with the subjects he paints as his work exhibits a rare combination of technical facility and emotional involvement.

Gable specializes in painting mural images and large canvases of America’s love affair with the automobile and its effect on our society. Some commissions include the commemorative painting for the Marlboro Racing Team and Philip Morris for an Indy 500 victory, an extensive 65 foot mural on the history of the automobile for The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, several historical murals for the Audi and Volkswagen corporations that have traveled internationally, and several works for the International Ferrari Club.

Prior to becoming an artist, John Gable was with General Motors Design Staff with his last years as a designer involved with the creation of Trans Am Firebirds in the late 1970’s. In addition to his reputation in the automotive design field, his commissions to create paintings for sailings celebrated Americas’ Cup crews have brought him international recognition.

John Gable has enjoyed numerous one-man shows in leading art galleries across the United States. His work may be found in many private and corporate collections here and in Europe.

Visit John Gable’s website for galleries and contact information.

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GM Design Work

From Car Styling

One of GM Design’s top stylists John Gable is currently assistant chief designer at Pontiac Studio. Side by side with Tom Semple whom we introduced in No. 23 of CAR STYLING, he was recommended for introduction in our magazine by Design Director Charles M. Jordan. That he justly merits being recommended is amply endorsed by the quality of his works which is reflected in GM Design’s inimitable expressive technique.

One outstanding feature of his works lies in the hard, sharp touch of the expressive luster he gives the car body panel while conferring a soft, moody atmosphere on the people and other illustrated elements in the background. The resulting contrast is arresting. He is a master in the well- controlled use of mutually repulsive complementary colors (brown and blue, for example).

The end result of his technique is unimaginably superior to any thing that can be produced with marks and color pencils on a colored illustration board. His composition scheme gives a solid and yet vivid imagery incorporating a harmoniously arranged distribution of light and shadow. Skillful value control and careful color planning are especially noteworthy.

Visit John Gable’s website for galleries and contact information.

Fine Art, Murals,Portraits, Watercolors




Series of Murals for D.C. Restaurant—The Age of Style Art Deco Era

Mural for D.C. Restaurant—The History of Duck Hunting on the Cheseapeake

The History of the Automobile—Automotive Hall of Fame, Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan

The National Assoc. of Counties (NACo)—History of County Government in America

Burning Tree Golf Club—The History of Burning Tree, Bethesda, MD

Series of Historical Murals—Audi and Volkswagon Corporations

Mural for MBNA

The Topsham Library—Chutting the Androscoggin



Series of watercolors—Boston Classical Orchestra in Concert

Portrait of Senator William Hathaway, Capitol Rotunda, Augusta, Maine

Series of portrait sketches—The Smithsonian Institution, National Postal Museum, Washington, D.C.

Official commemorative painting of America’s Cup

  • 1983—for Alan Bond, Australia
  • 1987—for Dennis Conner, United States of America
  • 1995—for Young America, United States of America

Portfolio of Watercolors—1987 12-Metre World Championships, Sardinia, Italy

Portrait of Gordon Ulmer—President, Bank of New England, Boston

Posthumous portrait of Michael Kennedy, Boston

Commemoration painting for 150th Anniversary—Oxford/ Cambridge Rowing Regatta

Commemorative painting of Princeton University Boat House, Princeton University

Commemoration pointing for Power Ten—Metropolitan Club, New York City



  • The Peyson-Weisburg Gallery, New York City
  • Barridoff Galleries, Portland, Maine
  • Francesca Anderson Gallery, Boston
  • The Guild of Boston Artists, Boston



1962 The University of Kentucky

1963–1966 The Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, degree in Industrial Design



The National Academy of Design, New York (Winner of the William A. Paton Prize, 161st Annual Exhibition}

The Forum Gallery, New York City

The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

The Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine

The Coe Kerr Gallery, New York City

The American Watercolor Society, New York City (Artist Magazine Award)


Visit John Gable’s website for galleries and contact information.

  1. John Gable.

    Jack, as we all knew him. We all saw that he was a great talent, with many facets, more than the most of us. Maybe the greatest aesthetic talent to ever work at General Motors Design. Yet, he was always completely open and friendly to all of us and while he was there we learned from him. I am sure that when he left to seek his own path our management was quite saddened. I know they were.

    The work displayed here demonstrates an intellect and a personality that is
    reflective of one of the most talented artists and designers ever. The stature of his commissions reflect his stature and no matter what the subject, if there are cars in it, Jack always gets them right.

  2. Bruce Troxell

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to learn about “Jack” Gable and to view samples of his work. Mr. Gable is indeed a gifted artist. He has the unique ability to depict any subject in any type or size of media. A visit to his website is highly recommended!


    I really like his work as a automobile designer and artist.

  4. Thomas Semple

    Jack is a great artist and friend. He clearly brought the level of design at GM up a notch. His drawing skills directly helped his design skills! He learned how to delineate surfaces so that they looked real and as he intended. Of course he did so with such artistry that the actual design is sometimes seen as almost secondary to his rendering skill.

    He was born with a great gift but this gift was honed with hard work over the years at Art Center and beyond. Upon his maturation there were no “empathic” sketches that needed “saving” by the modeling staff. He knew what the surfaces of his subject were doing…and so did the observer- and the modelers who was lucky enough to begin their labor with a clearly worked out Gable sketch/rendering.

    His artwork after leaving GM and to this day is laced with genius.

  5. Wayne Kady

    To leave a job with a guaranteed income and a bright future takes fortitude and a commitment to a passion.

    John’s art work shows that with dedication and hard work along with tons of talent, one can achieve their dreams.

    John was a designer in the Cadillac studio and helped to design the 1979 Cadillac Eldorado, his design illustrations were exceptional and inspiring.

    Thanks Gary for reacquainting us to John Gable’s art career and accomplishments.

  6. David McIntosh

    Amazing is an understatement! what an inspiration. Thanks Gary, for reminding us of the level of talented designers at GM.

  7. Bruce Brooks

    My experience with Jack at GM Design was in 1973/74 when he transferred into Advanced Buick Studio. I was a clay modeler there and as I became familiar with Jack’s sketches and renderings I could tell he had a gifted talent to compose a design with shape, form and line that was capable of being read and deciphered with ease. That made it much easier for our modeling staff to create the clay surfaces and lines. That was a brief introduction to Jack’s design capability as he then transferred to Advanced Cadillac Studio in 1974 and then Cadillac Studio in 1974/75.

    I continued my contact with Jack at work and away. While at his home I was able to see some of the watercolor paintings he had done and was very impressed with the quality of his technique. In some conversations with him he had mentioned he was thinking of doing this as a full time at home profession. He did however say that he was conflicted with the idea of pursuing a promotion to work toward a Studio Chief Designer position. It just so happened that where I was working in Pontiac 2 Studio we were without an Assistant Chief Designer as Tony Balthasar had transferred out and we were without a replacement for a year. I suggested to Jack that he should contact someone in upper management and let them know he was interested in the position. Unknown to me later on Jack had done just that and by early 1976 he was promoted to Assistant Chief Designer in our studio.

    I worked with Jack in Pontiac 2 for three years and could see the quality of his design work had elevated even more from what I had seen him do earlier in Advanced Buick. By early 1979 Jack had transferred to Pontiac 1 Studio. By 1980 the desire to commit to painting full took over and he decided to leave GM Design and move to Maine.

    That was a big decision for him and his family. Since then his artistic talent has gone way beyond what I could have imagined him obtaining. What he has since gained in artistic accomplishments is immeasurable in my view. I am glad to say that I have a very nice early watercolor painting that Jack did of the lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth, Maine, also known as the Two Lights Lighthouse. I still keep in touch with Jack on occasion.

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