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 Ragan Gennusa  (1944 - )

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Lived/Active: Texas      Known for: wildlife and western scene painting

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Ragan Gennusa
An example of work by Ragan Gennusa
Photo submitted by Ben Kozlovsky
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Realist painter of wildlife and western scenes in watercolor and oil, Regan Gennusa was born in Rosebud, Texas in 1944, and has lived in Dripping Springs, Texas since 1981.  At the University of Texas, he was the only art major on the football team, and "was looked at very strangely by team members," he recalls. "Fortunately, I've always had a sense of humor and been confident enough about myself that I didn't care what they thought."

After graduation, he began his art career painting football action scenes. "I graduated from the University in 1968 with a BFA and went to work for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, illustrating animals. While painting wildlife for a living, I had a chance to visit many ranches.  As I began to see the heritage of these ranches, I also started doing Western paintings.  In 1972, I signed an exclusive contract with a gallery which gave me the opportunity to paint full time."
 
Ragan was selected 1985-86 State Artist of Texas. His work is collected nationwide.
 

Submitted November 2006 by Ben Kozlovsky Sr., whose source is the artist

Biography from Texas Treasures Fine Art Gallery:
Ragan Gennusa

Ragan was born in Rosebud, Texas in 1944 and the following year, his family moved to Port Arthur, Texas.  Raised by parents who never missed an opportunity to take the family fishing, camping or simply spending time outdoors, he was exposed to a variety of Texas geography through his childhood.  He began sketching and drawing at an early age, and he credits his mother with encouraging him to draw the images that most intrigued him – from the Texas Gulf Coast to his Grandparents’ farm in Rosebud.  Before finishing high school, Ragan knew that he wanted more than anything to be an artist.

His love of the outdoors extended to athletics as well.  Ragan was All-state in track and was an All-state quarterback for Port Arthur High School and attended the University of Texas on a football scholarship where he studied art. Ragan credits his training as an athlete for teaching him to value “courage, tenacity, discipline, and the importance of character in pursuit of life as well as an artistic career”.

Ragan graduated from U. T. with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree determined to find his way as an artist. He passed on higher paying jobs to work as an artist for an Austin printing company.  He was making much less but stuck with the job that was closest to his heart and enabled him to pursue his career as an artist.  From there, he went to work for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  Before long, he was promoted to Artistic Director, but on the condition that he be allowed to continue painting along with accepting the additional administrative duties. While at Texas Parks and Wildlife, Ragan created the first Texas conservation stamp for the white-winged dove.

Ragan left the parks and Wildlife Department to paint exclusively for art galleries in Austin and Houston.

In 1976, Ragan became a charter member of the Gulf Coast Conservation Association when they asked him to donate some of his work for their initial fundraiser.  As he became increasingly involved with GCCA and other conservation groups, Ragan’s reputation as an artist and an out doorsman grew. Before long, patrons were commissioning paintings that allowed him to travel across the country, exploring his interest in the early settlers and native American cultures. Ragan feels a deep connection with these people because, as he puts it, “we’ve lived on the same land”.

In 1986, Ragan was honored by the State Legislature’s selecting him as the 1986-87 Texas State Artist. In 1993 and 1999, Ragan’s art was selected for the Texas Turkey Stamps. Several of his paintings are prominently displayed in the University of Texas Alumni Center and he has done paintings for the University of Texas football program.

In 1993, Ragan was commissioned to paint a series of paintings by New York Life Insurance Company to commemorate their 150th anniversary.  Prints of the paintings were made available for company agents. Four original paintings hang in the company’s New York office.

Today, the land Ragan lives on is in the hill country outside of Dripping Springs, Texas in the ranch house he built. Ragan paints mostly on commissions in a studio filled with a sense of the West. Gennusa says, “…after a particularly good day of painting, I walk out of my studio overlooking the beautiful Texas Hill Country and I truly feel that I am the richest, luckiest man on earth!”.

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