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 Raymond Howell  (1927 - 2002)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: Surreal, impressionist easel painting, murals, printmaking, musicians

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography, submitted by Peter Dane, is from the artist:  The source is

"My career began at age eight, when I was required to do life-size images of my second grade classmates on the blackboard, punishment for sketching in class.  My formal schooling ended by the fifth grade.  After "graduating" from reform school and foster homes, I dedicated myself to art.  I am both artistically and academically self-educated.

By the age of thirty I was able to be a full-time self-supporting artist.  Numerous one-man shows were held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Provincetown.  Also, I did a one man exhibit, "San Francisco Night Life", which took one year of work and involved 24 locations.

A major highlight was participating in the opening of the Oakland Museum.  The Brown Painting, in the "Black Perspective" exhibition, was later purchased by the museum for its permanent collection. The following years I opened my own gallery and art school where I developed and perfected a new process which I applied to serigraph printing. I continue to do commissioned portraits.

During the seventies and eighties I exhibited throughout the United States, won many awards, and introduced my original serigraph prints at the International Art Expositions in New York and San Francisco.  I participated in foundation, direction and teaching at Project Dare, an art school for minority/poor children in San Francisco.

In 1990 Jeffrey Pollack commissioned me to do an epic mural called the Italian Mural of San Francisco for his New Joe's Restaurant. The mural is curved 6' x 43½', and depicts the history of Italians in San Francisco.

Throughout my career, I have received recognition in publications such as The Christian Science Monitor, Art Forum, Black Artists on Art.

-Raymond Howell, 1927-2002

Biography from
Raymond Howell began painting when there was little public interest in African American art, and he tried during his lifetime to serve as a role model for artists in bringing images of African American culture to a larger public. He was especially committed to promoting arts education opportunities for minority children.

Raymond Howell's paintings are based in realism, with eclectic influences of surrealism and impressionism. In recent years he has experimented with collage, mural painting and printmaking and has created series of works on such subject matter as jazz musicians who were innovators in their art form. An artist whose work focuses on African Americans, Howell describes himself as a role model for artists who have traditionally been reluctant to paint African American subjects.

Howell has been a longtime fixture in the Bay Area art scene. In the mid-1960s he opened Art Associates West, a gallery and art school in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, which operated for nearly a decade. Howell's 1965 painting The Brown Family was shown at the opening of the Oakland Museum, and was later purchased for the museum collection. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States, and in 1999 Stanford University presented a 40-year retrospective of his paintings.

Jan. 6 will be declared Raymond Howell Day in Oakland, and San Francisco will celebrate Raymond Howell Day on Sept. 7, his birthday.

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