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Ralston Crawford
""Ralston Crawford - Maitland Bridge -2, 1938, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.jpg
Maitland Bridge -2, 1938, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Born (1906-09-05)September 5, 1906
Died April 27, 1978(1978-04-27) (aged 71)
Nationality "American
Education "Otis Art Institute.
"Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
The "Barnes Foundation
Known for "Painting, "Photography
Ralston Crawford, Lights in an Aircraft Plant, 1945, oil on canvas, "National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)

Ralston Crawford (1906–1978) was an American abstract "painter, "lithographer, and "photographer.


Early life[edit]

He was born on September 5, 1906, in "Canada, at "St. Catharines, "Ontario, and spent his childhood in "Buffalo, New York. He studied art beginning in 1927 in California at the "Otis Art Institute. After working at the "Walt Disney Studio, he returned to the eastern U.S. for further study at the "Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and at the "Barnes Foundation, where he was exposed to the art of "Picasso and "Matisse. In 1934, he had his first one-man showing at the "Maryland Institute College of Art.[1] He was also one of "the Independents.


Crawford was best known for his abstract representations of urban life and industry. His early work placed him with "Precisionist artists like Niles Spencer and "Charles Sheeler. Here, the focus was on realistic, sharp portrayals of factories, bridges, and shipyards. Later work was "geometrically abstract. In Spain, he observed "bullfighting, and the religious "procession during "Holy Week in "Seville. In "New Orleans, he painted and photographed cemeteries and jazz musicians (requiring a permit to visit bars normally restricted to blacks).[1] "Fortune Magazine sent Crawford to the "Bikini Atoll in 1946 to record a "nuclear weapons test.

During his abstract period, he said, "I don't feel obligated to reveal the forms. They may be totally absent to the viewer of the work, or even to myself, but what is there, however abstract, grows out of something I have seen. I make pictures."


On April 17, 1978, Crawford succumbed to cancer in "Houston, Texas, survived by a wife and three children. At that time, his works were included in the public collections of the "Honolulu Museum of Art, the "Metropolitan Museum of Art, the "Museum of Modern Art, the "Whitney Museum of American Art, the "Walker Art Center, and the "Toledo Museum of Art. Crawford is buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 in New Orleans, a short distance from one of the Catholic cemeteries in which he produced many of his works.[1] His crypt is located on the 2nd floor of the mausoleum located in the far left corner of the cemetery as seen from the entrance. There is a balcony facing the cemetery, when exiting onto the balcony, turn right, and Crawford is about 1/2 way, a row or two above the balcony. His wife, Peggy (Frank) Crawford, a founder of the Modern Art Society, which would later become the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, died April 18, 2015.[2]

Permanent collections[edit]

The "Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover, Massachusetts), the "Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences (Charleston, West Virginia), the "Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art ("University of Oklahoma); the "Georgia Museum of Art ("University of Georgia); "Harvard University Art Museums, the "Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C.), the "Honolulu Museum of Art, the "J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the "Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the "James A. Michener Art Museum (Doylestown, Pennsylvania), the "Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, Missouri), the "Kresge Art Museum ("Michigan State University), the "Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the "Mead Art Museum ("Amherst College), the "Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the "Saint Louis Art Museum, the "National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), the "Norton Museum of Art (West Palm Beach, Florida), "The Phillips Collection (Washington D.C), the "San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the "Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington D.C.), the "Tweed Museum of Art ("University of Minnesota, Duluth), the "Walker Art Center (Minnesota), the "Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City), the "Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, Ohio), and the "Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City) are among the public collections holding work by Ralston Crawford.


  1. ^ a b c "Ralston Crawford Biography". Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Rosen, Steven (22 May 2015). "CAC Announces the Death of Founding Member Peggy Crawford". City Beat. Retrieved 5 February 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

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