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 John Plumer Ludlum  (1906 - 1993)

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Lived/Active: New York/California      Known for: celebrity portrait, religious themes

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
The Lonely Desert
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Lumenz Art Galleries:
John Plumer Ludlum had an art career that spanned over 70 years. He is known as the Pioneer in the use of Fluorescent Paints in fine art, a technique he called "Living Light".

Born in Hempstead NY, John Ludlum left home at the age of 16 to attend the Chicago Institute of Fine Art. At the age of 20, Ludlum returned to New York, where he studied at the Art Students League and The National Academy of Design. Ludlum had a studio of his own on 46th Street near Broadway, and many known dancers, singers and actors would frequent the Ludlum studio, and some became models. He later moved his studio to the Greenwich Village area of New York City, becoming the founder of the Greenwich Village Artists. Franz Cline, a member, made the logo for the club.

John Ludlum was a pioneer in that he did some of the first serigraphs in fine art in New York City and these works were exhibited at Rockefeller Center in 1943. I

In early 1945, Ludlum moved to Los Angeles, California where he studied under Nicolai Fechin and established a secluded studio on the estate of Dr. and Mrs. Isaac Jones overlooking the city, and across the road from the estate of famous Hollywood director Cecil B. De Mille. In 1945 Ludlum became one of the first to use fluorescent color in fine art. He utilized this new medium and entirely new method of application to extend the range of his palette from the lighter artist colors, on into light itself. He called his new method "Living Light", and it would prove to be Ludlum's distinct style.

In 1954 he married his wife, Shirley Grote. They bought a beautiful Victorian style 18-room home in the Hollywood Hills. It was then that he began to paint what would later become his signature masterpiece. "The Nativity" took 3.5 years to complete and was finished in 1957. This 72" X 108" mural depicting the birth of Christ was done in a Byzantine style; utilizing Gold and Silver metallic powder and of course Fluorescent paint. "The Nativity" would go on to be viewed by many and win four international competitions over the next 15 years. In 1964 "The Nativity" and other Ludlum works were exhibited at the dedication of "The Tower Of Hope" in Garden Grove, CA. "The Tower Of Hope" was part of the Garden Grove Community Church, an organization led by Dr. Robert Schuller, a televangilists.

"The Nativity" was purchased for $2.5 Million U.S.D. in 1973 by the Ohio Tourist Center. In October of 1973, as special guests to the U.S. Army, the Ludlums were flown to Ft. Gordon Georgia for the international premiere of "The Nativity". Flanked by armed guards, "The Nativity" would be unveiled center stage before over 900 people. The 72-piece Augusta Symphony played behind the curtain for the unveiling of "The Nativity". The United States Presidential car was assigned to the Ludlums during their stay. The United States Air Force honored the Ludlums at a formal reception at the base in Mantz, Germany (1973). A procession of five vehicles and armed guards accompanied the Ludlums; all for one artist and one painting. In Madrid, Spain the painting was under the protection of the Spanish Government. Armed guards protected the painting from the time it was lowered off the plane until it left the country. There were armed guards stationed at the airfield, before the landing of the plane that "The Nativity" was being transported on.

His paintings have been exhibited in the Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach CA., the Southeast Arkansas Art and Science Center, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and The Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA. In 1979,

Ludlum's Biography was requested by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC for the National Archives. In 1979 it was researched, compiled and delivered to the Archives. Mr. and Mrs. Ludlum finished the later years of their life quietly. Mr. Ludlum passed away in 1993, in the Ludlum's hometown of Tustin, CA. leaving a very grievous Mrs. Ludlum behind. She withdrew from the public eye, stopped selling her late husband's work and later died in Los Angeles, CA in 2003.

-New York Enquirer Sunday March 31, 1935 "Portrait Artist John Plumer Ludlum Overwhelmed With Work"
-Time Magazine 1936, Article on The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
-New York Sunday Enquirer March 14, 1936 "Around the Town"
-Los Angeles Times Sunday March 11, 1956- Artist to Discuss Fluorescent Colors At Friday Club Meeting"
-Los Angeles Examiner Sunday November 13, 1960. Showing of John PLumer Ludlum at American Art Academy.
-The Orange County Evening News "Million Dollar Frame Up" Friday January 1, 1965
-The Orange County Register (Formerly "The Register") Sunday February 4, 1968 "Ludlum Art Shown Here"
-The Press (Riverside, CA) Wednesday December 6, 1967 "Fluorescent Paintings by John Ludlum Shown"
-"Whos Who In America" 1973 9th Edition.
-The Rambler (Army Base Ft. Gordon, Georgia) October 12, 1973 " 'Unveiling of 'The Nativity Sunday' "
-Thursday November 14, 1974 The Tustin News " 'Holiday Reflections Home Tour Accounced'"
-The Register Sunday December 22, 1974 "Tustin Artist Hits Jackpot With 'Nativity' Scene Sale"
-The Irvine World News December 19, 1974 "Building Site of New Church On Yule Cards"
- Virtue (Women's Magazine) Jan/Feb 1979 "Let There Be Light"

-Foremost Artist in "Fluorescent Painting and Portraiture" 9th Annual Madonna Festival LA, CA (1954)
-Most Popular Painting & 1st place Jury Award "Madonna Del Vetro" 9th Annual Madonna Festival LA, CA (1954)
-Special Jury Award Tri Club Art Exhibit (1957)
-Madonna Festival Award Jury Award "The Nativity" 12th Annual Madonna Festival LA, CA (1957)
-Madonna Festival Popular Awards; 1st place "Ayesha", 3rd place "Anton" (1957)
-San Fernando Valley Art Club; 1st place, Pastel, Pen and Ink Award (1958)
-City of Los Angeles appointed "The Mayors Community Advisory Committee" (1960)

South Side Art Exhibition Chicago, IL. (1921), Buckingham Hotel NY,NY (1933), Museum of Science and Industry Rockerfella Center N.Y.,N.Y. (1943), Nick-Rick Restaurant (Corner of Sunset and LeBrea) Hollywood, CA (1952), Unveiling of Portrait of Doris Hughes (5220 Linwood Dr.) Hollywood, CA (1952), Los Angeles Ebell Club Salon and Art Los Angeles, CA (1954), The Estate of Dr. and Mrs. Isaac Jones Hollywood, CA (1954)Hollywood Association of Artists (1955), Barker Brothers Auditorium (1955), Artists Guild of America Carmel, CA (1955), Bowers Museum Santa Ana, CA (1955), United States Govt. Space Program Armory NY, NY (1955), First Baptist Church Pacoima, CA (1956), Laguna Beach Museum of Art Laguna Beach, CA (1956), Laguna Beach Art Association Laguna Beach, CA (1958), American Art Academy Los Angeles, CA (1960), "Tower of Hope Dedication" (exhibited works next to the Dead Sea Scrolls) Garden Grove, CA (1964), Lief Erickson Foundation Los Angeles, CA (1967), Garden Grove Church, Garden Grove, CA (1967), South East Arkansas Art and Science Museum Pine Bluff, Arkansas (1972), Religious Cultural Fair Ft.Gordon, GA (1973), US Air Force Mantz, Germany (1973), Government of Spain Madrid, Spain (1973)

Founder/1st President "Greenwhich Villiage Artists" NY NY, Westchester Institute of FIne Arts Westchester, NY, San Fernando Valley Art Club Los Angeles, CA., The Museum Association (LA County Museum) Los Abgeles, CA, The Authors Club Hollywood, CA,

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