Art of the 20th Century


Art Styles in 20th century Art Map


Ralston Crawford


Ralston Crawford

(b St Catharines, nr Niagara Falls, 5 Sept 1906; d New York, 27 April 1978).

American painter, printmaker and photographer of Canadian birth. After attending high school in Buffalo, NY, Crawford worked on tramp steamers in the Caribbean. In 1927 he enrolled at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, CA, and worked briefly at the Walt Disney Studio. Later that year he moved to Philadelphia, PA, where he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the Barnes Foundation in Merion Station until 1930. Crawford’s paintings of the early 1930s, such as Still-life on Dough Table (1932), were influenced by the work of Cézanne and Juan Gris, which he had studied at the Barnes Foundation. He was also attracted to the simplified Cubism of Stuart Davis, with its restricted primary colour schemes. After a trip to Paris in 1932–3, where he studied at the Académie Colarossi and the Académie Scandinave, Crawford’s flat, geometric treatment of architectural and industrial subjects in paintings such as Vertical Building (1934; San Francisco, CA, MOMA) led him to be associated with Precisionism. After 1940 he almost eliminated modelling from his work in favour of flat and virtually abstract architectural renderings, for example Third Avenue Elevated (1949; Minneapolis, MN, Walker A. Cent.). He taught at several schools in the United States and worked extensively in lithography and photography, in many cases using his highly formal black-and-white photographs as source material for his paintings.



Buffalo Grain Elevators


Grain Elevators from the Bridge


Maitland Bridge #2



New Orleans #3


New Orleans #7


Lights in an Aircraft Plant


Boat and Grain Elevators No. 2


Factory Roofs



Third Avenue Elevated No. 3


Nacelles Under Construction


Construction #4


Number 3


Boxcar, Yellow and Black


Grey Street




New Hope Station


Third Avenue El


Third Avenue Elevated, New York City

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