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Ray Ellis

 (1921 - 2013)
Ray George Ellis was active/lived in South Carolina, Massachusetts.  Ray Ellis is known for marine, figure and landscape painting.

Biography  
Ray Ellis


Biography from the Archives of askART

Raymond George Ellis, 92, of Edgartown, Massachusetts, a nationally recognized artist whose paintings are in the permanent collections at The White House and in museums around the country, died at Martha's Vineyard Hospital on October 4, 2013, of complications from a stroke.  Mr. Ellis and the late television journalist Walter Cronkite collaborated in the 1980s on a series of three books depicting America's coastlines in word and image: South by Southeast, North by Northeast, and Westwind.  There are fifteen other books exclusively devoted to Ellis's paintings.  His biography will be published in the spring of 2014. For three consecutive years beginning in 1998, Mr. Ellis was commissioned by President and Mrs. Clinton to paint scenes of the White House to be reproduced as their official holiday greeting card. In 2004, the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, created a major traveling exhibition of his paintings.  He was awarded the Salmagundi Club's Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2004.

Born in Philadelphia on April 24, 1921, Ray Ellis attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, and in 1947 at the age of 26, had his first one-man show at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was elected to the American Watercolor Society and in 1968, to the Salmagundi Club in New York, the oldest established professional art association in the country.  Other New York memberships included The Century Association, the Artists' Fellowship, and The Lotos Club.  In 1986, he founded Compass Prints and The Ray Ellis Gallery in Savannah, Georgia, which continues as his headquarters. 

After serving four years in the Coast Guard during World War II, he married Elizabeth Ketcham, who predeceased him in 1972.  Ellis founded his own advertising agency with offices in New Jersey and New York.  But from 1969 on, Ellis worked exclusively as an artist.  During a brief second marriage, he moved from New Jersey to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and then to Savannah, Georgia.  Mr. Ellis felt his life became truly charmed during the 1980s when he married Theodora (Teddie) Axtell.  They lived in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard, where he was an enthusiastic tennis player, golfer, and fisherman. He raised more than $1 million for the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust over two decades and for over 25 years, he donated paintings to the Telfair Ball, an annual museum fundraising event in Savannah.  In an effort to support, young artists who aspire to duplicate his own path as a full time artist, Mr. Ellis, established the Ray Ellis Foundation, which provides funds for those wanting to pursue a career in the visual arts.

Obituary. Savannah Morning News on Oct. 8, 2013


Periodicals:
Yachting, 1984. January. South by Southeast, excerpt from South by Southeast, Ellis, R. and Cronkite, W.

Southern Accents, 1986. The Southern Artists, editors.

Down East, 1986, August. That's the Way it Is, excerpt from North by Northeast, Ellis, R. and Cronkite, Walter.

Cape Cod Compass, 1987, Spring/Summer. North by Northeast, excerpt from North by Northeast, Ellis, R./Cronkite, W.

Savannah Magazine, 1991, Summer. Westwind a Visual Treat. Marcy Lisle.

Cape Cod Life, 1995, September. Ellis' Island. Catherine Fallin.

InformArt, 1995, Winter. No Subject is off limits for Ray Ellis. James Van Maanen.

Martha's Vineyard Magazine, 1995, May/June. Martha's Vineyard an Affectionate Memoir, excerpts, Ellis/R., Graves, R.

Beaufort Low Country, 1996, Summer, Ellis in His Element, Brewster Robertson

Martha's Vineyard, 1998, July. Friends in Art for Twenty-five Years. Editors

Marquis, 1999, Who's Who in American Art.

Focus, 2000, December, Foto Der Woche.

U. S. Art, 2000, November. A Hallowed House, Shane Frederick.

Cape Cod Life, 2000, August. Landmark Artists, Debi Stetson

Television Interview:
CNN, 1984. "South by Southeast" with Walter Cronkite, co-author.

CBS Morning Show, 1984. "South by Southeast" with Walter Cronkite, co-author.

CBS Morning Show, 1986. "North by Northeast" with Walter Cronkite, co-author.

Larry King Live! 1986. "North by Northeast" with Walter Cronkite, co-author.

CNN, 1990. "Westwind".

Georgia Public Television, 1996. "Sophisticated Ladies: Charleston and Savannah".

C-Span, 1999. "White House BiCentennial Calendar" with Neil Horstman, director of the White House Historical Association.


Biography from Red Piano Art Gallery
Ray Ellis, a marine painter much associated with South Carolina and the East Coast, especially Massachusetts, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  From 1939 to 1941, he studied at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art and from 1940-41, was with the Art Department of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger.  In 1954, he founded Ellis Advertising in New Jersey and New York City, and in 1957 received the "Advertising Man of the Year" award in New Jersey.

He has had numerous exhibitions and commissions including the following: 1999 One-Man Exhibition, The Red Piano Art Gallery, Hilton Head Island, SC, "Ray Ellis/A Low Country Legend; "One-Man Exhibition, Gallery C, Raleigh, North Carolina of 25 watercolors and oils; Exhibition invitational of the Salmagundi Club, "Curator's Museum Exhibition; 1997 One-Man Exhibition, The Red Piano Art Gallery, Hilton Head Island, SC, of Recent Low Country Paintings; One-Man Exhibition, Geary Gallery, Darien, CT. "The Road to Ballybunion," 30 watercolors; Exhibition at the Telfair Museum, Ray Ellis: The Telfair Paintings, which includes fourteen watercolors. 1947 One-Man Exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

Martha's Vineyard Historical Society commissioned three watercolors of Vineyard lighthouses reproduced as limited edition prints to raise funds for the preservation of these historic lighthouses, and another commission, was for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Song of the Whale, oil.

A painting by Ellis was commissioned by the White House Historical Society to represent the state of Georgia on a calendar commemorating the 200th year of occupancy of the White House.

He has taught workshops at Bray's Island Plantation, South Carolina and lectured at the Landing's Art Association, Skidaway, Georgia.  He was elected to the Board of Governors of the National Art Museum of Sport, Indianapolis, Indianapolis.  For Rolex, Inc. sponsor of the Junior Golf Association, Ellis completed The Young Golfer, a limited edition bronze sculpture to act as the annual trophy for the Junior Golf Championship.

Ellis was a juror along with Walter Cronkite for the "International Juried Exhibition" at the Mystic Maritime Museum, Mystic, Connecticut. and he was elected to the advisory board of the National Art Museum of Sport, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Private Collectors include: President and Mrs. George Bush, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Lane, Eileen Ford, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Cronkite, Mrs. Wm. LaRoche, Sir John Conant, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Koger, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Krementz, Mr. Robert Urich, Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo Boardman.


Biography from Edgartown Art Gallery
RAY ELLIS has been painting for over fifty years. He has painted on all seven continents. In the spring of 2004, the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia honored the depth and breadth of Ellis' career with a major traveling exhibition titled "Ray Ellis: A Painter's Journey."

Ellis was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. His first one-man show was held in 1947 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. After serving four years in the coast guard during WWII, he founded his own advertising agency in New Jersey and New York, but continued to paint in his spare time. During this period he was elected to the American Watercolor Society, and his works were widely exhibited and received numerous honors.

In 1969, Ellis was able to devote all his time to painting. In 1974 he moved south to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and then to Savannah, Georgia. Only recently has he resettled in the north where he maintains a home and studio on Martha's Vineyard.

In the early 80's, Ray Ellis and Walter Cronkite collaborated on a series of fine art books which celebrate America's coastlines: South by Southeast, North by Northeast, and Westwind. In 1992, Ellis authored The Spirit of Golf with golf journalist Ben Wright and in 1997,The Road to Ballybunnion with John DeGarmo.

Paintings of Savannah and Martha's Vineyard have been published in separate volumes: Ray Ellis' Savannah & the Lowcountry and Martha's Vineyard, An Affectionate Memoir. Coastal Images of America, published in 1998, include many paintings from the out-of-print Ellis/Cronkite books and new text by Dr. Robert Ballard. In 2000, Fishing the Vineyard was published. All the paintings commissioned by the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby are included along with stories by Vineyard fishermen. The most recent book, Lowcountry, features new paintings of the Georgia and South Carolina coast.

For three consecutive years beginning in 1998, Ellis was commissioned by the President to paint scenes of the White House to be produced as their Christmas card.

His works have been exhibited in the U.S. Embassies in Geneva, Vienna, and London. Ray Ellis' paintings are in the permanent collections of the White House, museums across the country, and private collections worldwide.


Biography from Ray Ellis Gallery, Compass Prints, Inc.
RAY ELLIS (1921-2013) painted for over seventy years and on all seven continents. He is widely recognized for the originality of his paintings.

Ellis was born in Philadelphia and attended the famed Philadelphia Museum School of Art. His first one-man show was held in 1947 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. After serving four years in the Coast Guard during WWII, he founded his own advertising agency in New Jersey and New York. He continued to paint in his spare time. During this period he was elected to the American Watercolor Society, and his works were widely exhibited and received numerous honors.

In the early 80’s, Ray Ellis and Walter Cronkite collaborated on a series of fine art books which celebrated American’s coastlines: South by Southeast, North by Northeast, and Westwind. Ellis’ paintings have been the subject of fourteen additional books. The themes have varied widely; from the southern lowcountry to Martha’s Vineyard, flowers and gardens, moonlight, golf, and fishing.

For three consecutive years beginning in 1998, Ellis was commissioned by the President to paint scenes of the White House to be reproduced as the official Christmas card.

1n 2004, The Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia honored the depth and breadth of Ellis’ career with a major traveling exhibition titled Ray Ellis in Retrospect; A Painter’s Journey. He was subsequently awarded the Salmagundi Club’s Medal of Honor for Lifetime achievement in the Arts. In 2013 Ellis collaborated with CK Woflson on Painting a Life: Ray Ellis An Artist Seen Through His Work. The biography was published posthumously in 2014.

Ellis is represented in fine galleries across the country. His works have been exhibited in U.S. Embassies in Geneva, Vienna, and London. Ray Ellis’ paintings are in the permanent collections of the White House, museums across the country, and private collections worldwide.


Biography from The Cheryl Newby Gallery
Born Philadelphia, PA., 1921

Ray Ellis attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art.  His first one-man show was held in 1947 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

After serving four years in the Coast Guard during WWII, Ellis founded his own advertising agency in New Jersey and New York, but continued to paint in his spare time.  During this period he was elected to the American Watercolor Society, and his works were widely exhibited and received numerous honors.

In 1969 Ellis was able to devote all his time to painting. In 1974 he moved south to Hilton Head Island, SC and then to Savannah, GA.  In 1989 Ellis re-settled in the north where he maintains a home and studio on Martha's Vineyard with his wife Teddi.

In the early 80's, Ellis and Walter Cronkite collaborated on a series of fine art books which celebrate America's coastlines: South by Southeast, North by Northeast, and Westwind. In 1992, Ellis authored The Spirit of Golf with golf journalist Ben Wright.

Paintings of Savannah and Martha's Vineyard have been published in separate volumes: Ray Ellis' Savannah & the Lowcountry, and Martha's Vineyard an Affectionate Memoir. Most recently published are Coastal Images of America and The Road to Ballybunion.

Ellis's paintings are included in major museums and private collections throughout the country.  His paintings hang in our American Embassies in Geneva, Vienna, London, and more recently, Brussels.  In 1999, he was commissioned by the White House to do a series of paintings of the Rose Garden.  In 2004, the Telfair Museum of Savannah, GA exhibited a major retrospective of his work.


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About  Ray Ellis

Born:  1921 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:   2013 - Martha's Vineyard
Known for:  marine, figure and landscape painting