Robert Plummer Ludlum, American (1906 - 1993)

Ludlum's art career spanned over 70 years, beginning with his first exhibit in Chicago in 1926. Born in Hempstead, New York, he left for Chicago at the age of 16 and was an apprentice to the nationally known R.R Donnelley and Sons, Lithographs. At 17, he began studying fine art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

At the age of 20, he moved to the East coast where he studied at Art Students League , where he was offered a teaching position and the National Academy of Design in New York City.
In New York, Ludlum opened his own studio/gallery on 46th near Broadway. Many dancers, singers and actors frequented his studio and some became his models. Later, moving his studio to Greenwich Village, where he was the first president of the Greenwich Village Artists. Always a pioneer, his were the first serigraphs in fine art in New York City and were exhibited for six months at the Museum of Science and Industry at Rockefeller Center in 1943. Following a move in 1945 to California, where he had a secluded studio across the road from the estate of famous movie director, Cecil B. DeMille, he began pioneering the use of fluorescent color in fine art. This entirely new medium enabled him to extend the palette from the lightest artists' colors on into light itself. He called his method "Living Light©".


In 1954, Ludlum met and married sculptor and painter Shirley Grote. In 1966, they moved to Orange County, California and opened their own gallery, showing only Ludlum work for 20 years. After retiring, they continued to paint in their home studio.
Many of Ludlum's greatest works are based on themes of great religions of the world. He won four first place awards in this subject in international competition in Los Angeles. His "Nativity" was purchased by the Ohio tourist Center in 1973 for $2.5 million. The "Nativity" stands six feet high and nine feet wide, including its hand-carved, free-standing frame. Ludlum used a Byzantine style, oil and fluorescent colors, with gold and silver metallic powders to create this masterpiece, giving it the breathtaking effect of jewel tones in light. The panel took 3.5 years to complete.

As special guests of the US Army, the Ludlums flew to Fort Gordon, Georgia in 1973 for the National Premier exhibition of the "Nativity." Flanked by armed soldiers, the great painting was unveiled at center stage before over 900 invited guests.
His work is on display at the New York Graphic Society, Los Angeles County Museum, Metropolitan Museum in New York City, and in many other businesses and homes of private owners.

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