Raymond J. Eastwood

Raymond J. Eastwood (1898 – 1987)

Raymond Eastwood, Reclining Nude

Raymond Eastwood, Reclining Nude

Maupintour owned at least three of Raymond Eastwood’s paintings, two of which I have – The ‘Reclining Nude’ above, and an oil of Monument Valley, below. The Reclining Nude is painted from an unusual perspective and is a departure from Eastwood’s primary landscape painting. However, many of Eastwood’s signature skills from his landscape pieces are also apparent in the piece. The skin shows his mastery of creamy light and subtle texture, honed from his focus on sand, and the angles and contrasts of the model, furniture and room reflect Eastwood’s focus on contrast, the dramatic, and movement (sloping angles), features usually of the landscape and sky in his work.

Raymond Eastwood, original oil, Monument Valley

Raymond Eastwood, original oil, Monument Valley

The University of Kansas, Lawrence, has a collection of Eastwood documents. The following bio is from their site:

Raymond J. Eastwood was born May 25, 1898, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. As a professional landscape artist he taught at the University of Kansas from 1922 to 1968, and influenced several generations of artists, including Lawrence artist and KU art professor Robert Sudlow. Eastwood began his tenure on a one-year appointment as an instructor, but later became a full professor of drawing and painting, and was chairman of the art department from 1949 until his retirement in 1968.

For 20 years Eastwood summered on Cape Cod, and also spent summers in the Southwest and California to capture those landscapes on canvas. During World War II he served for three years in an intelligence unit in the Army Air Corps. Before coming to Lawrence, he worked as a theatrical scenic artist and billboard painter in New York City. Eastwood studied art at the Yale University School of Fine Arts in 1921 and with the Art Students League of New York from 1915 to 1920. He taught for a year at the Ethel Walker School. In 1982, Eastwood was named a Governor’s Artist by Kansas Governor John Carlin. His paintings are in the collections of the Wichita Art Association, The Philbrook Art Center in Tulas, Oklahoma, the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art and many private collections. Eastwood’s work was exhibited at the Rhode Island School of Design, the National Academy of Design, the Chicago Art Institute, the Provincetown Art Association, and the Pennsylvania Academy, among others. He was a member of the Allied Artists of America, the Art Students League, and the Scarab Architectural Fraternity.

The Smithsonian Museum of Amercian Art has a few photos of Eastwood in their collections, dating from the 1920’s when Eastwood was in New England.  He is shown with friends, including noted artist Edwin Dickinson.

aymond Eastwood, Edwin Dickinson, Charles Hawthorne, John R. Frazier, and Dr. H.T. Tracy at Dickinson's Pearl St. studio, ca. 1930

Raymond Eastwood, Edwin Dickinson, Charles Hawthorne, John R. Frazier, and Dr. H.T. Tracy at Dickinson's Pearl St. studio, ca. 1930

The following bio/timeline was written by Judi Geer Kellas, Kansas artist and organizer of the estate exhibition of work by Raymond Eastwood. Maupintour/Neil Mecaskey had a handsigned copy of a Judi Geer Kellas poster. This beautiful poster is available on Kellas’ website for a nominal donation to a local organization.

Judi Kellas 1991 poster, handsigned to Neil Mecaskey

Judi Kellas 1991 poster, handsigned to Neil Mecaskey

I received a nice message from Judi in January 2012 that adds insight into Raymond Eastwood and his art ~

You may know that Raymond’s middle name is James and that he was quite well known for his Cape Cod dune paintings which he called “sand pile pictures.” Raymond always referred to his paintings as pictures. The first time I saw one of his nude paintings I was simply bowled over. I was astonished by the texture, the curved surfaces and the glowing color. After my glowing comments, Raymond laughed and said “If you can paint a sand pile, you can paint a naked lady.”

There was a wonderful story in the Lawrence Journal-World on January 8, 1989 about the exhibition Judi Kellas arranged of Eastwood’s work at Roy’s Gallery in Lawrence. (article continued here.)

January 8, 1989 photo of Davona Eastwood and Judi Kellas

Davona Eastwood and Judi Kellas with Raymond Eastwood barn painting

1898 Born May 25, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Details of his family history are scarce.
1916-1920 Studied with Frank V. DuMond at The Art Students League of New York; worked as a theatre scene painter.
1920-21 One year of post-graduate studies at Yale University.
1920 or 1921 First summer spent painting near Provincetown, Massachusetts.
1922 Began position as Assistant Professor of Drawing and Painting at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
1927 First exhibition at the Provincetown Art Association.
1930 Promoted to Associate Professor at The University of Kansas.
1938 Served as Recording Secretary of the Provincetown Art Association.
1939 Exhibited Old Telegraph Station at the World’s Fair in New York, making this painting Eastwood’s most historically significant.
1940 One-man exhibition of eleven Cape Cod paintings at Vose Galleries, Boston; exhibited one painting at the Coronado Exposition in Albuquerque, NM.
1941 Represented in annual exhibition of Allied Artists of America, held at the National Academy Galleries in New York; Eastwood continued marketing his work there through the 1970’s.
1942 Served as Acting Chairman of Drawing and Painting at KU while Albert Bloch was on sick leave.
1943 Served as an intelligence specialist in the Army Air Force, making aerial reconnaissance photographs in the United States through 1945.
1944 Exhibited twelve dune paintings at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
1945 Taught summer art classes at the Philbrook Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the invitation of Director Bernard “Poco” Frazier, a sculptor and KU alumnus.
1946 Eastwood painted his first landscapes of the desert Southwest.
1947 Served as Chairman of Painting and Drawing, a position held until 1963; spent the summer in Utah and Provincetown.
1948 First summer at Monument Valley and probably his last visit to Provincetown.
1949 Promoted to Professor at The University of Kansas; exhibited at the Joslyn Memorial Art Museum in Omaha and at the Ninth Annual Missouri Exhibition in St. Louis.
1950 June 3, Eastwood married Devona Doxie (1909 – 1996), a vocal music professor from Los Angeles. They met at a faculty meeting in 1949. Devona had to leave her position due to the nepotism laws of the time. She lived at their home in Lawrence until her death.
1952 Eastwood served as Acting Director of the Art Museum and Acting Chair of the Department of Art History at KU for one year.
1950’s- 70’s Numerous regional exhibitions: Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka, Pittsburg (KS), Kansas City (MO), Springfield (MO), Chicago (IL), Kalamazoo (MI).
1968 Eastwood retired from KU after forty-six years of teaching. He continued to paint, exhibit and travel after his retirement.
1987 November 24, Raymond J. Eastwood died in Lawrence, Kansas after a twenty-year battle with heart disease.
1989 An estate exhibition was organized by Judi Geer Kellas at Roy’s Gallery in Lawrence.
1993 Cape Cod Dunes was included in an exhibition, “The League at the Cape,” at the Provincetown Art Association Museum.
1995 The Mulvane Art Museum hosts the first museum exhibition of Eastwood’s paintings, and publishes the first exhibition catalog to detail the artist’s life and work.

Exhibition Record (Museums, Institutions and Awards):
Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1923; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1924; 15th McPherson Exhibition (Catalogue of the Annual Art Exhibit. McPherson: McPherson High School Press, 1911-35) (Catalogue of the Annual Art Exhibit. McPherson: McPherson High School Press, 1911-35) 1925; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1928; 4th Annual Kansas Artists’ Exhibition, 1928; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1929; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1930; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1931; Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1932; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1933; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1934; 25th McPherson Exhibition (Catalogue of the Annual Art Exhibit. McPherson: McPherson High School Press, 1911-35) (Catalogue of the Annual Art Exhibit. McPherson: McPherson High School Press, 1911-35) 1935; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1935; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition, 1936; Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1937; 14th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition (Topeka: Mulvane Art Museum, 1925-1941), 1938; Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1939; Kansas Free Fair, 1939; 15th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition (Topeka: Mulvane Art Museum, 1925-1941), 1939; 16th Annual Kansas Artists Exhibition (Topeka: Mulvane Art Museum, 1925-1941), 1940; Vose Galleries, Boston, 1940; Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1940; Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1941; Midwestern Artists Exhibition, 1942; Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, 1944;

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