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 Sanford Ross  (1907 - 1954)

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Lived/Active: Vermont/New Jersey      Known for: landscape, architecture, graphics

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Masai Natives on Cape to Cairo Road
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born on February 23, 1907 in Newark, New Jersey, Pierre Sanford Ross, who used the name Sanford Ross, was a landscape painter who maintained a studio in Barnard, Vermont.

The following, courtesy of Mark Borthwick, was printed in conjunction with a retrospective exhibit of Ross's work in 1954.

Sanford Ross, observed a New York critic, "likes America now and just as it
is." By doing so, Sanford Ross made people with ordinary eyesight see
beauty in places they had never seen it before.

Before he was twenty-four, Ross had a one-man show in Manhattan's Macbeth Gallery. He delighted and surprised New York critics with his precocious drawings of the uninhibited, grotesque, but somehow touchingly absurd mansions which the great tycoons of the 1890s build along the New Jersey shore. Ross grew up among the decaying elegance of Elberon where President James Garfield died and where Guggenheim and Brady spent summers. "Every one a priceless souvenir of the gloire passeé," as one critic put it.

As other shows followed, Lewis Mumford, in the New Yorker, declared that Ross "seems to me to have the potentiality of pushing beyond the mere
sentimentality and mere factual statement - the two bogs in which
Burchfield and Hopper have tended, respectively, to get stuck."

The next year, Ross cast an eye on the Connecticut countryside and the
World Telegram critic observed: "His new tenderness has been held in leash
so that instead of romanticizing the serene beauty of his subject, he has
disclosed the loveliness implicit in it." He turned his skillful pencil to
a new subject, produced a masterful series of lithographs of the great
American highway, desolate, dreary and dripping in the melted snows of late
winter. Of these Alfred Reese observed in "American Fine Prints of the
Twentieth Century," "he has so grasped the mood and spirit, the essence of
what the road connotes at that time of year, that he has succeeded in
forever making it his own."

Fortune Magazine sent him to look at Newport's grandiloquent summer
architecture and at Saratoga's baroque flamboyance. He journeyed to New
Zealand and Kenya, came back with a series of watercolors which the
American Federation of Artists sent on a nationwide tour of schools and
museums.

World War II was a difficult period for Sanford Ross. He had seriously
damaged his ankle in an accident and the Army refused to take him. He
taught GIs to paint at the Fort Monmouth Recreation Center. Restless and
frustrated, he himself found it difficult to paint when the world he cared
about as fighting for its life while he stood helplessly by. But in 1947 he
married and moved from his native New Jersey to Vermont. "Life has begun
for me all over again," he wrote. "It is my second beginning."

There, surrounded by Vermont's unparalleled loveliness, he painted the
lyrical watercolors and oils for which he is best known. "Ross is an artist who reaps solid pictorial rewards from the long contemplation required," wrote the New York Times critic of Ross' latest one-man show in New York. "These pictures belong to their time, as all good pictures must," wrote Noel Busch, "but the time belongs to them too, in a way that suggests that they may be capable of surviving their occasions - their seasons in Vermont during a long winter in the world."

Sanford Ross was born in Newark, NJ, was educated at Taft School and
Princeton University which he left after only a year to devote himself to
art. He studied painting with Thomas Hart Benton and George Luks,
lithography with Adolph Dehn. His prints are included in "Fifty Prints of
the Year 1934," "Fine Prints of the Year 1937" and "1938", and the book
Prize prints of the Twentieth Century." He has shown regularly in New York
at Macbeth Gallery, at Rheinhart and Leeman, and at the Van Diemen- Lilienfeld Galleries. Besides being in many private collections,
his works are owned by Dartmouth College, the Addison Gallery in Andover
Mass., the New York Public Library, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and
the Newark Museum.


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