DARIEN, Conn. -- The Geary Gallery of Darien has extended its exhibit “Timeless: The Paintings of Ray Ellis” through April 30.
Geary is one of only four galleries in the United States to host the exhibit, which is a celebration of the work of the late renowned painter and storyteller, Ray Ellis.
Ellis was born in Philadelphia on April 24, 1921, and grew up on Lismore Avenue in Glenside, Pa. He began painting as a child and spent his life celebrating each day — both on canvas and in the world he shared with Theodora (Teddie) Axtell, his wife of 28 years.
A nationally recognized artist whose paintings are in the permanent collection at the White House and museums around the country, Ellis sought out, and saw beauty in everything he viewed. He was an unwavering optimist and a romantic who imagined the best possible reality and then stepped inside, lived it, and captured it on canvas.
Ellis attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, and in 1947 at the age of 26 had his first one-man show at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He pursued watercolor painting while working in advertising to support his family, eventually founding his own advertising agency with offices in New Jersey and New York.
But from 1969 on, he worked exclusively as an artist. Ellis felt his life became truly charmed during the 1980s, when he and Teddie built their summer home on Martha’s Vineyard. Throughout that decade, Ellis and the late TV journalist Walter Cronkite collaborated on three books depicting America’s coastlines in words and images: "South by Southeast," "North by Northeast" and "Westwind." There are 15 other books exclusively devoted to Ellis’ paintings.
In 1986, he founded Compass Prints and The Ray Ellis Gallery in Savannah, Ga.
For three consecutive years beginning in 1998, Ellis was commissioned by President Bill and Hillary Clinton to paint scenes of the White House to be reproduced as their official holiday greeting card. His works have been exhibited in United States embassies around the world and are in the permanent collection of the White House as well as in museums around the country.
Admission is free. Geary Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is located at 576 Boston Post Road, Darien. For more information, call 203-655-6633 or visit www.gearygallery.com.
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