Ralston Crawford US/CANADA, 1906-1978


"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."


- Ralston Crawford

Born 25 September 1906, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. 1926–27, sailed on tramp steamers to Caribbean, Central America, California, New Orleans. Studied at Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles. Worked in Walt Disney's studio. 1927–30, studied at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pa. 1932–33, to Europe, where he studied in Paris at Académie Colorossi and Académie Scandinave; toured Spain, Italy, Balearic Islands. 1933, studied at Columbia University.


1934, first one-man show, Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore. Taught at Art Academy of Cincinnati, 1940–41 and 1949; Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 1942; Brooklyn Museum School, 1948–49. 1950–68, made many trips to New Orleans to photograph musical life of the city. 1952–57, taught at New School for Social Research, New York. 1953, retrospective exhibition, University of Alabama; visiting artist, University of Michigan.

1954–55, traveled in France and Spain. 1958, retrospective exhibition, Milwaukee Art Center; visiting artist, University of Colorado. Exhibited lithographs in London. Taught at Hofstra College, 1960–62. Photographic research consultant, Tulane University, Archive of New Orleans Jazz, 1961. 1961–62, retrospective exhibition of lithographs, University of Kentucky. 1963–73, traveled widely in Europe, Caribbean, and U.S. Died 27 April 1978, Houston, Tex.


- William Kloss Treasures from the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985)