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Ralston Crawford

(New York / 1906 - 1978)

Ralston Crawford was born September 25, 1906 in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada. He is best known for his images of American landscapes, which he executed in a Precisionist style.

In 1910 Crawford's family moved to Buffalo, where he lived until 1926. From 1927 to 1933, he studied at numerous institutes, including: the Otis Art Institute; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the Barnes Foundation; the Hugh Breckenridge School; the Academie Colarossi and Academie Scandinave in Paris; and Columbia University.

Crawford's first one-man show was in 1934 at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore. In 1934 he moved to Pennsylvania to paint, where he stayed until 1939.

Crawford was associated with Precisionism, an art movement stressing a machine-like style, which incorporated flat colors, sharp edges, little texture, and industrial images.  During the thirties, many American artists were turning away from modernism, and the Precisionists regarded industrial subjects as symbols of order, reason and a part of America's cultural heritage. After serving in World War II Crawford moved away from Precisionism in his art, and developed an increasingly fragmented, hard-edged style, perhaps an expression of his disillusionment with America's war technology.

In 1950 he made the first of many trips to New Orleans, where he photographed black jazz musicians. In 1971 Crawford was diagnosed as having advanced cancer and given only months to live. When he died on April 27, 1978 in Houston, his body was returned to his beloved New Orleans for burial.

The collections of several universities and corporations include his works, as well as many museums, among them The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., and also the Library of Congress.

Source: Askart.com

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