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 Robert Donald Ray  (1924 - 2002)

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Colorado      Known for: abstract landscape painting, sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
Robert Donald Ray
from Auction House Records.
Long Roads of Hot gold
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from 203 FINE ART:
Robert Ray (1924-2002)

By the time Robert Ray decided to leave his native Denver and move to Taos, in 1954, he had served in the navy in the South Pacific during and after World War II, earned art degrees at The University of Southern California and The Centro de Estudios Universitarios in Mexico City, and lived in Europe for a year. His decision to move came after being invited by Eulalia Emetaz to exhibit at La Galeria Escondida, which at the time was the place to exhibit as a modern artist. This was to be his first solo exhibition.

In Taos, Earl Stroh introduced him to Helene Wurlitzer, who, to encourage him to remain, provided him with a studio-residence. He thus became one of the first beneficiaries of Mrs. Wurlitzer's generosity. When she commissioned several Taos artists to paint portraits of her for family members, she included Ray. He showed his work in regional and national exhibitions and sold some, but during the quiet winters of the 1950's when Taos nearly shut down economically, he was forced to return to Denver for a few months of employment.

The most frequent subjects of his early Taos oil paintings and woodcut prints were still life’s and semi-abstract landscapes. He was fascinated by the light of the Taos Valley, not just the light itself, but the way in which the quality of light defines the place.

In his work, intense concentrations of light contrast abruptly with darkness and fragmented forms, was his signature style. He worked closely with the then Harwood Foundation and upon his death in 2002 left his home and collection to what now is The Harwood Museum of Art.

David L. Witt, from his book Modernists in Taos, from Dasburg to Martin

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