Richard Gantt Paine was born at 25 Coming Street, Charleston, S.C. on February 15, 1875, the son of Porteous Russell Paine and Ella Mary Gantt.
In his youth, he lived at 57 Charlotte Street with his parents and younger brother, Porteous Russell, Jr., and devoted considerable leisure time to boating and model-making. In 1894 he graduated from the Patrick Military Institute. In 1896 he moved to Washington, D.C. and was employed as a junior architect for the Federal Government. In 1906 he became a surveyor. In 1910, he married Annie Maude Kilmartin of Petersburg, Virginia. During a long career in the federal service, he worked at the National Zoological Park and the National Museum (of Natural History), illustrating numerous official publications with drawings of animal life. He is said to have carried around a boa constrictor in a suitcase, loaning it once to the Ringling Brothers Circus because theirs was sick.
His avid interest in exotic animals, nurtured by association with the zoo, resulted in the development of his talent as a sculptor. He was especially interested in the dramatic work of famous French sculptor, Barye, and many of his own violent compositions were obviously inspired by this master. Mr. Paine’s own style was more realistic, however, in the more typically American tradition of Remington and Eakins. Mr. Paine’s sculpture, which was produced largely during the period 1900 to 1935, gained considerable recognition in exhibits in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Most of his work is scattered and cannot be located due to the fact that he was extremely generous and gave many pieces to friends and associates during his lifetime.
Among his friends were the famous animal hunters and trainers of the period – Frank Buck, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Johnson and Clyde Beatty. He was a devoted circus fan and traveled extensively to attend circus performances and visit with the performers. Among his circus friends was the famous clown, Emmet Kelly. Outside of his interests in those associated with the animal world, Mr. Paine lived quietly in the small town of Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and son. Although he lived modestly, he was proud of his ancestral descent from a common source with the ruling family in England and regularly received Christmas greetings from His Majesty, George V.
During the last years of his life, Mr. Paine made use of his artistic talents in the preparation of engineering drawings for the Arlington County Government and the design of residential home plans for selected clients. After a full and prolific life, he died September 18, 1958 and was interred in National Memorial Park Cemetery, Falls Church, Virginia. This cemetery had aroused his interest when it was chosen to be the site of a fountain designed by the internationally-known Swedish sculptor, Carl Milles, in the late 1940s.
Twelve of his sculptures are part of the permanent collection of the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina.
By (son) Richard P. Paine (1917 – 2006). Submitted by (grandson) Stuart M. PaineExhibitions:
In April of 1910 his work was part of an exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum, organized by the National Sculpture Society and featuring work by, Solon H. Borglum, Alexander Calder, Eli Harvey, Frederick MacMonnies, Albert Laessle, and others.
He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1914 (Tiger; Python) and in 1917 (Book Ends: Lioness and Gazelle).
In 1908 his work was part of an exhibition of the National Sculpture Society under the auspices of the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore. (Teasing)
"News and Notes of the Art World," New York Times, April 17, 1910
Archivist, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts