Milne Ramsey

1847 - 1915

Gratz Gallery Outside

Milne Ramsey

Milne Ramsey was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1847 and died March 16, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ramsay is considered a landscape, still life and portrait painter. He began his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. After finishing his studies in 1866, Ramsey opened a studio for a short period in Philadelphia at 524 Walnut Street.

Ramsey, like all young painters wanted to travel to Paris and study. In 1868, he would close his studio and make his first European trip. After arriving in Paris, Ramsey rented a small apartment at 39 rue Douai. He would later move to 75 Boulevard Clichy, which was next door to his fellow American Frederic Arthur Bridgman (1847-1928). For the next five years, Ramsey would study at the atelier of figure painter Leon Bonnat (1833-1922). He would remain in Paris for a total of ten years exhibiting at the Paris Salons and with the Societe des Artistes Francais.

Ramsey was one of the founders of the Society of American Artists in Paris. The members of the Society openly identified themselves as a group apart and superior to the old-guard National Academicians. They were proud of their achievements and confident in their superior judgment in matters of art. In 1877, when the Society of American Artists were discussing the possibility of a New York exhibition forty artist were present. They had all exhibited for years in Paris and were excited about sending their works from Paris to New York, as a group. Ramsey and Bridgman would offer their studios for the reception and a place for the contributions to be judged. While in Europe, Ramsey continued to paint his academic still lifes. He also painted small intimate plein-air landscapes to record his travels, especially in and around the Normandy and Brittany countryside. Ramsey used a heavy impasto and impressionistic style in his landscapes which was a complete departure from his more academic still life and figure paintings. He built a reputation on his crisp, well organized compositions. Ramsey was a master with color and his handling of fabrics. Like other artist from his generation, he collected and was fascinated with oriental objects, which he often included in his works.

In 1882, Ramsey returned to Philadelphia and opened a studio at 1523 Chestnut Street. He continued exhibiting his academic still-lifes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art until 1903. He would briefly open a studio in New York City and divide his time between it and his seaside home in Atlantic City.

In 1900, Milne Ramsey would return to Philadelphia, where he would spend the rest of his life.