Man Evolves.

Art, artists, prison art

Raymond Rowley King – A through C

These pages attempt to catalog the oeuvre of the brilliant artist Raymond Rowley King, arranged in alphabetical order by title.  They are spread over five pages to make them load more quickly.   On this page are items A through C.   As additional works are submitted to me, I will add them as time permits.  A reasonably good image is required for publication.  If the collector wants to have the owner’s name mentioned, please include that information.  At present, I have images of just over 130 of the works of Raymond Rowley King.  Sometimes his name is spelled Raymond Rouley King incorrectly.  Whenever possible, I prefer to include the title of the work as well as the dimensions.  If you are interested in selling the art work, please indicate where the piece is located, and some idea of a price you would consider fair.   At present, emails may be sent to alan6401@hotmail.com . Or you may also text me at (916)383-5341.

My wife and I purchased our first painting by Raymond Rowley King over fifty years ago.  In recent times, we have been able to locate other of his works some of which we were able to purchase.  Many of the works covered in this diary will be in private collections other than our own.  If you have one of his pieces and would like to have it included in this presentation, email me at alan6401@hotmail.com with as much description as possible, plus jpegs.  Or you may also text me at (916)383-5341. using the name ‘Raymond Rowley King’ in the subject line.  If you would like to add any information about a piece or about Ray’s history, please email me.
Also, if you have one of this artist’s paintings and wish to sell it, please contact me through email. Occasionally people make inquiries through me regarding available pieces.

Three paintings are known to have sold at a single auction in Europe from 1999 to 2000. An Oil on panel dated 1974 and titled Ebba with a Book sold on 18 Jul 1999. An Oil on canvas measuring 50″ x 50″ and titled EuropeanTown sold on 12 Jan 2000 . An Oil on panel measuring 54″ x 54″, dated 1970 and titled The Clock sold on 24 Oct 2000 probably in France.  If you have possession of this painting, please contact me.

From the Glasgow Herald

A newspaper article has emerged from the past.  I am putting it at the top of the page so that it will be easier to find.  It is repeated in the text about 2/3 of the way down the page.

From the Glasgow Herald – December 14, 1964 (under Art Shows in Edinburg):

At the Crestline Gallery a feature has been made of the paintings of Raymond Rowley King. a Californian now living in Edinburgh.  These, with their constant palette of the darker earth colours thinly brushed (this painter, as a technician and draughtsman, is both assured and able), comes as something of a relief after so much conscious brilliance (referring to other artworks on show).

But one is troubled by the extreme polarity visible in King’s work.  It is difficult to understand how the man who painted “Highland Tapestry” for example (a bold abstract with more or less landscape connections), or even “The Man from Leith” with its broad treatment of realism, could conceive the little composition “The Dance Studio” so niggled and so fussy.

A Copenhagen Saturday Morning

            A Country Doctor

A Country Doctor seems related to An Evening Call in the Edwards/Pedersen Collection.  This piece is 52 inch by 53 inch and is in a private collection in Copenhagen, Denmark.  It is said to have been painted in 1968.  The two paintings do seem to me to have common ground.  Of course the carriage itself puts the subject into the realm of the artists imagination.  A third similar work, titled, “Late Evening Call”, is, as of 2019, now in the Edwards/Pedersen Collection.

            A February Day

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

            A Figure Study in Silver

           A Friend

            A Moment

A Moment shows us a person (perhaps Eric Horenstein) deep in thought with another looking on. Is the person facing some conflict or perhaps having a moment of creative realization? Note the shadows on their arms as the light floods in from the window. The dimensions are roughly 9″x12″.

          A Moment In Israel

The second work titled A Moment in Israel is a bit ‘dark’ in its mood.  The work is 30 inch by 52 inch and appears to be on canvas also.

            A Poem of Haifa

It is uncertain as to whether or not Staifa refers to “St. Anselm’s International Friendship Association.”¹  One is tempted to believe that Staifa was the name of a kibbutz, or it could actually be Haifa.  It appears to be a picture of a man (on right) and a woman.  The long black hair on each may indicate Japanese heritage, which would coincide with the STAIFA.

The painting is done in oil on Masonite and is 15″W x 16″W.  A lacquer finish has been applied, which makes it tricky to photograph directly.

In a private collection in Oregon.

            A Portrait of a Delightful and Charming Young Lady

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

            A Sacramento Wedding

An image from the owner was recently supplied to me.

This is an image supplied to me by the owner of this painting in 2021.

This piece is reproduced from an old magazine article dating back to the 1960s.

            A Small Girl on White Linen

A Studio Corner

Studio Corner by Raymond Rowley King

This painting depicts a model taking a break to read. The model’s name was Tess Gildea. The work measures 26 1/2″ high by 26 1/4″ wide and was done in 1977.  It was sold in Israel at the same time as three other works “Gillette”, “The Governess”, and an untitled cityscape.

            A Study from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Two male figures may be seen here that are of interest.  In the background near the window stood the Hungarian defector Attila Ficzere who later starred with San Francisco Ballet.  In the foreground the central red-haired male is Eric Horenstein who went from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to do A Chorus Line and other Broadway musicals.

         A Study In Line and Wash

A Study in Line and Wash by Raymond Rowley King

A Study in Line and Wash is 22-3/4 inches by 40-3/4 inches.  From the appearance of the background stain and from the odd dimensions, one would guess that this is done on Masonite.  The year was 1969 and available information is that it was done in New York State and may even have been done on the Long Island estate of Elaine deKooning. It is interesting to note how much expression that Ray derives from the small area of the face that is exposed.

            A View of Elspeth 

A View of Elspeth is a large oil (approx. 50″ x 50″) was last seen in mid 1970s. It is said to have been sold through the Clothes Horse Gallery in Portland, Oregon.   The left half of the painting depicted a steeply terraced gathering of Victorian architecture.    This is an image from a gallery brochure, thus the weird color.

            Amsterdam

Ray did have some fascination with unique houses and would spend long hours adding detail to their paintings.  In Amsterdam he has capture the unique feel of one of those tall buildings used for commercial ventures.  The storage area is on the upper floor and may reflect a concern over the potential for flooding.  A kind of davit protrudes from the front of the building to provide the ability to hoist goods up to the storage loft.

Light streams out of the window on the right side front window where the sidewalk rises to catch the light, which reflects off of the wet pavers.  There is light coming out of another window on the left side wall of the house, a window we cannot see directly except partially through the left front window.  However, we see the light upon the pavement and there is just enough light to reveal a figure, a person or possibly two, walking by protected by an umbrella.  These two people are hidden in shadows.

Through the second story windows we see, on the right, a brass bed with a white cover, on the left, someone watches the street and in the center we can see a portrait.  The third story, seen in the full view above, seems quite vacant while there is a light on in the fourth level.  A cobalt-umber-gray scumble represents a wisp of smoke emitting from the chimney and blown part way down the sharply peaked roof in a downdraft before continuing upward.  There is also a preliminary sketch for this work.

This work is said to be in a private collection in California.

            An Autumn Love Story

This oil on Masonite(?) piece is photographed sitting in a bent wood chair, approx 6 ”  diameter oval.

            An Evening Call

Probably painted in 1968.  Two similar works are known to have existed, “A Country Doctor”, and “Late Evening Call”.

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

            An Oil Study of Brad Horenstein and Guitar

This oil painting is said to be 36″ x 24″, though this image does not conform to that description.  It is signed verso, dated April of 1976, painted in Oregon, and in a private collection in Oregon.

            An Oregon Winter Morning by Raymond Rowley King

Done in Oregon in April of 1976, this particular work was done after Ray’s return to the United States from Israel.

            Balarines

         Barque Euphemia Beached at San Quentin

These were printed on bricks from old Sash & Blind Building at San Quentin State Prison.

            Bird Art

This is probably an intaglio print with some modifications. it is similar to the work title “Nude with Mask”.  The dimensions of “Bird Art” are 3-1/2″ x 4-5/8″.

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

            Black Bitch

Many of the paintings by King are dark and moody.  Some of them might even be called angry, especially when they are given a title such as this one.I will try to list some of the elements that I see in the composition and make a guess as to what is coming in to play in the work.

We seem to be looking through a window.  A wine bottle is in evidence.  Something is being heated on a device that is fueled with white gas or kerosene forced to the burner with pressure to combine with air for combustion.  The heating device rests in a pan as if in anticipation of something boiling over.  The pan on top seems to be quite an ordinary item with a handle.

I am puzzled by the straight vertical object that stands vertically in the foregroung just to the right of the wine bottle.  It has a certain transparency in places and suggests to me a distilling column used in organic chemistry.

Could this be a chemical preparation of heroin?  Is how the Black Bitch heroin is made?

In the darker paintings it is often the case that you look at them over a period of time and then suddenly see something that you had not seen before.  In this one, you may or may not perceive a face looking forward from behind the pan on the upper left-hand side.  A person may be seen seated in the distance above the wine bottle and another seated to his right…or not.  Instead, the figure on the right could be a woman with black hair standing nude, turned away and looking back over her left shoulder.

Painted in 1966, The Black Bitch measures 11-1/2 x 11-3/4 inches and is in a private collection in Israel. It is framed crudely with four pieces of raw wood that appear to be pine 2x4s. The artists signature is on the upper horizontal part of the frame so it is presumed that he intended the frame to always be an integral part of the work. It would be my guess that the painting, like so many, is done on 1/4 inch tempered Masonite.

In November of 2006, I had an opportunity to examine a different photo of this piece. In it, the container being heated appears to be less like metal and more like glass. Also, it revealed that the painting may be in two pieces, being divided along the dark vertical line about a third of the way in from the right.

            Blue Sheets

            Bottles

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

            Bust of Man

I shall refer to it as Bust of Negroe Man, until further clarification.  This was painted before 1964, probably at Vacaville.  Ownership unknown.   Here is a detail of the head.

            California Landscape

California Landscape is from about the same time as Letter to Carolyn Wong.  It was probably painted in 1964 and sold through That Gallery in Portland, Oregon.  Raymond had been released at that time, and it was painted before he fled the country.  These are very large works, along with Edinburgh Tapestry, Harper’s Bizarre, Marin County and the Corner Painting, and the logistics of shipping them to Portland from outside the country would have been difficult at best.  There is some speculation that they were painted in Winnipeg, after Raymond fled the country.

          Cocktail Party

Here’s a moody piece from the brush of King.

This 22 inch by 21-1/2 inch work was done most probably on Masonite in 1963 while Ray was still in Vacaville.  We see a rather slinky model, probably a punk, vamping the artist while wearing a lamp shade on his head.  The model’s left hand is held up in a ‘stylish’ manor.  To the models right is a square liquor bottle created with a few strokes suggestin the glistening of light off of the glass edges and the tall, thin, round neck of that bottle.

One imagines effeminate male homosexuals in prison with little to do but act as though they were somewhere else, perhaps at a cocktail party.  In a private collection, probably in California.

            Coming Home From Mamie’s

Coming Home From Mamies by Raymond Rowley King

This was last seen at auction in New York City.  A collector of the works of Raymond Rowley King has expressed interest in contacting the current owner.  It was probably resold through a dealer in NYC.