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Ralston Crawford (1906-1978), <em>New Hope Station,</em> 1932. Allentown Art Museum Purchase: The Reverend and Mrs. Van S. Merle-Smith, Jr., Endowment Fund, 1992.

"Crawford's work depends on thinking a balance between subject matter and abstraction, between rationality and objectivity. As Crawford himself explained, he achieved this through 'selection, elimination, simplification, and distortion for the purpose of conveying emotional an intellectual reactions to the things seen.'"
-Debra Taylor Cashion, Allentown Art Museum

In the October 1934 issue of the magazine, The New Hope, Ralston Crawford's work was described as "extremely abstract and has developed a stark simplicity..." Many of his critically acclaimed landscapes depicted the Bucks County countryside. His use of specific American subject matter, as in New Hope Station (1932), aligned him with the Regionalist school of the time. His later work connected him to the Precisionist movement and artists such as Charles Sheeler, Charles Demuth, and Georgia O'Keeffe. In 1946, Crawford witnessed the detonation of the atomic bomb on Bikini Atoll for a commission by Fortune Magazine. His abstract paintings of what he saw and felt were not well received at the time. Although most famous as a painter, Crawford also worked in drawing, lithography, film, and photography. He documented the world of New Orleans jazz, gaining permission to visit bars off-limits to whites, as well as the waterfront, ships, trains and industrial themes. He died in 1978 in Houston, Texas, of cancer.

Ralston Crawford (1906-1978), New Hope Station, 1932. Allentown Art Museum Purchase: The Reverend and Mrs. Van S. Merle-Smith, Jr., Endowment Fund, 1992.

Education & Community

Education and Training
Otis Art Institute, presently Los Angeles County Art Institute, Los Angeles, California, 1926-1927
Walt Disney Studio, Los Angeles, California, 1926-1927
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1927-1930
The Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pennsylvania, 1928-1930


Major Solo Exhibitions
Maryland Institute of Fine Arts, Baltimore, Maryland, 1934
Philip Boyer's New York Gallery, New York, New York, 1937, 1939
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1946
Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, 1946
Howard University, Washington, D.C., 1947
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1947
George's Gallery, London, England
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1949
Downtown Gallery, New York, New York, 1950
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1950
Hofstra College, Hempstead, New York, 1952, 1960
Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, New York, 1954, 1956, 1958
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1953
Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin, 1958
Retrospective, University of Fine Arts, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1965
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, 1966
The Century Association, New York, New York, 1969, 1978
Zabriskie Gallery, New York, New York, 1971, 1973, 1976
Photography of Ralston Crawford
, traveling exhibit, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1974
Ralston Crawford: A Retrospective
, Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York, New York, 2001

Major Group Exhibitions
Phillips' Mill Annual Art Exhibition, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1932
Independents Exhibit, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1933, 1934
Davenport Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1930s
Four New Hope Painters,
Mellon Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1934
Philip Boyer's New York Galleries, New York, New York, 1936
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1947
The Precisionist View in American Art
with Charles Sheeler, Charles Demuth, and Georgia O'Keeffe, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1961
Photo exhibit, Zabrinski Gallery, New York, New York, 1974
The New Hope Modernists: 1917-1950
, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1991

Major Collections
Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
Butler Museum of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
New York Public Library, New York, New York
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio


Teaching and Professional Appointments
Cincinnati Art Academy, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1940
Buffalo School of Fine Arts, 1942
Art School of Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York
Guest Director, Honolulu School of Art Summer Program, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1947
Visiting artist at Louisiana State University, University of Michigan, University of Colorado, University of Southern California, and University of Illinois

Major Awards
Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship, 1931
Bok Fellowship, 1937
Award, National Academy of Arts and Letters, 1970
Palmer Memorial Prize, National Academy of Design, 1972

Affiliations and Memberships
Ralston Crawford was one of the original members of the Independents, a modernist group that evolved in 1932 out of the New Group that had formed in 1930 as a response to the conservatism of the Pennsylvania Impressionists and their juried shows.

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