new-york

Ralph Humphrey, Thin Edge, 1981, casein and modeling paste on wood, 60 x 36 x 4".

Ralph Humphrey

Gary Snyder Gallery

Ralph Humphrey, Thin Edge, 1981, casein and modeling paste on wood, 60 x 36 x 4".

Because Ralph Humphrey is saddled anew with the unfortunate appellation “’70s painter” each time his work is rediscovered—as happens seemingly once a decade—the results of these excavations have typically been equivocal. Artists such as Elizabeth Murray, by contrast, have broken free of the faint praise built into that suspect moniker.

Humphrey entered the lists as the elusive obsession of Klaus Kertess (as he tells us in a Candide-like catalogue memoir) when the latter turned away from art history at Yale University to found the Bykert Gallery. The catalogue text by the fine painter/critic Stephen Westfall details Humphrey’s technical evolution from the wood-supported, curve-shouldered, shieldlike, tonal symmetries of the ’70s through his more cobbled and quirky neo-Impressionist, densely chromatic compositions of the following decade. Throughout these stages of his

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