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Lewis A. Ramsey

Lewis A. Ramsey was born in Bridgeport, Illinois in 1875. He was a portraitist and landscapist. He died in southern California in 1941.

John Hafen was Ramsey's first art teacher. In 1892, he began study at the Art Institute of Chicago. He then trained in Boston and New York  and took lessons from Douglas Volk, who was a student of John Singer Sargent. He also studied at the Académie Julian.

Beginning in 1918 he worked on murals at temples for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii. Examples of his work are Portrait of Grandfather, Thomas Steed (1905) and Grand Canyon (1929).

Biography adapted from the Springville Museum of Art.

Lewis Ramsey was originally from Bridgeport, Illinois, but came to Utah with his family in 1887. Settling in Payson, Utah, young Ramsey had lessons with John Hafen. In 1892, he looked for portrait commissions in Provo. Leaving the same year for study at the Art Institute of Chicago and then training in Boston and New York as well, Ramsey not only took lessons with Douglas Volk, a pupil of John Singer Sargent, but also worked as both a calligrapher and a “spot-knocker“ on photo-negatives before departing later for Europe. Back home in Utah, he found time for sketching trips to scenic locales and the submission of some pastel drawings and canyon portrait to the 1894 Territorial Fair. In 1898, he was able to purchase the John B. Fairbanks photo studio and gallery in Provo. Finally, he went to Paris to pursue training at the Academie Julian, and traveled also to Berlin, Vienna, and Rome before going home to Utah in 1903. Ramsey eventually taught at L.D.S. University from 1903 to 1905 before taking another Chicago sojourn between years 1905 and 1908; he then found various L.D.S. church commissions back home; spent eighteen months in Hawaii (1916-18)doing murals of Mormon temple there; painted more landscapes and portraits in Utah from 1918 to 1930; and finally found a new career of painting scenes and portraits in California.

Biography courtesy Springville Museum of Art.


Olpin Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, Donna Poulton, and Janie Rogers. 150 Years Survey Utah Art, Utah Artists. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2001.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Painting and Sculpture. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1991.

 Last Modified 4/1/20