Gallery Artists > Raymond Jonson Biography :

Raymond Jonson (1891 - 1982)  Artworks >>

Raymond Jonson was born in July 18, the first of six children to Reverend Gustav and Josephine Aharhamson Johnson on the farm of his maternal grandparents near Chariton, Iowa. His father came to America from Sweden and changed the spelling of his name from Jonsson to Jonson. In 1899 he first attended school in Colorado Springs and later after living in several states his family moved to Oregon in 1902. In 1909 he enrolled in the newly opened art school at the Portland Art Museum. After one year he moved to Chicago and entered the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and supported himself with various part-time jobs. With a full schedule of art classes and increasing dissatisfaction with the commercial attitude toward art at the academy, he established a studio and lived across the street, near Jackson Park, from B.J.O. Nordfeldt. Jonson exhibited six oils, and one charcoal drawing and an etching in the 1913 Armory Show in Chicago. Kandinsky's book The Art of Spiritual Harmony had a profound influence on his direction as an artist. By the twenties and thirties he exhibited regularly in Chicago and New York. A fateful decision in 1922 to build a house in Santa Fe led to his disappearing into "the land of enchantment." In 1938 Jonson banded together a group of painters as the Transcendental Painting Group, and proclaimed aims different from those of both the common abstractionists and the non-objectivists. He also became a full-time teacher at the University of New Mexico in 1949. The same year he began construction on the Jonson Gallery on the campus of the University. Birger Sandzén met Raymond Jonson for the first time in 1918 on a visit to Santa Fe, and a close friendship developed between Raymond and wife Vera Jonson and Birger and Alfrida Sandzen. As Jonson's painting moved towards abstract painting, Sandzen's response to the development is found in a letter to Jonson in 1933: "I believe that every artist should express himself according to his own ideas on life and art. A painting may be beautiful in a hundred different ways. Artistic imagination is, according to my understanding, either creating things abstract, or only suggested by nature or an intensified vision of nature. An artist with creative imagination may present his motifs in a fairly realistic way but they will be interpretations and not imitations because the artist's vision goes beyond the surface. I believe that it is good for us to try different interpretations. I am planning for the near future a few imaginary paintings." Reference:

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