Ralph Eugene Della-Volpe
About the artist:
Ralph Eugene Della-Volpe was a prolific fine art painter who, drawing from nature, created masterworks of color, pattern, form, light and shadows for much of his long life of 94 years. Born May 10, 1923 Ralph was aware that as an artist he lived much of the time inside his own head. He once told an audience "most laymen feel that the artist is some far out beatnik on Cloud 9, floating above anything worldly. This is not true." Even at an early age, drawing came naturally to him and he was rarely seen without a sketchbook and pencil. He studied at the National Academy of Design and the renowned Arts Students League in NY and in 1963 was awarded a fellowship at the prestigious McDowell Art Colony in New Hampshire. Della-Volpe's work graced the walls of many galleries, the House of Good Taste at the 1964 World's Fair and unfortunately, one of his paintings went down in the terror attack on the NY World Trade Center in 2001. Fiercely independent and self -reliant, Della-Volpe was determined to stay that way and in his own home. He accomplished this even after the death of his wife Helen, as well as the premature death of his son James, until he passed away the morning of Nov 2, 2017, with his two daughters at his side, on what would have been his son's birthday. Both deaths shaped a reconfirmation of Ralph's deep spirituality. Della-Volpe, who considered himself a survivor, came through the horrors of D- Day at Utah Beach where he earned a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. To support his family, although he was already the Chairman of the Art Department at the former Bennett College in Millbrook, NY, affectionately known as DV by his students, he took odd side jobs painting houses, landscaping, and any extra work that came his way. During the summers, he and Helen would pack up their 3 children and the dog, with the 15' camping trailer to travel the country in search of adventure, nature's beauty at beaches or the best mountainous fly fishing streams, all without seat belts or air conditioning. Every adventure provided Ralph with fuel for his paintings and during the 1960's Della-Volpe produced some of his most prolific works of beach scenes. He captured the essence of his favorite North Carolina beaches with their long stretches of sand, patches of deep colored vegetation and wind scrubbed clouds above which mimicked the patterns of the sands below. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is in collections such as the Chase Manhattan Bank NY, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts , and the Library of Congress. More recently two of Della-Volpe's paintings were featured on the front covers of the Country and Abroad Magazine. Until shortly before his death, Della-Volpe composed and painted in the studio that he and his son built together. Displaying his self -reliance until the age of 93, he still ran his own snowblower to that studio so he could continue to focus on his work during the winter months. Della-Volpe's long CV details his many exhibits; but it his work that is his legacy. It is in the subtle shift of color, the arbitrary use of color, the gradual darkening of a shadow, and the patterns surrounding his mostly serene subjects where one can gain a glimpse inside the head of this most accomplished painter.
Ralph Eugene Della-Volpe was a prolific fine art painter who, drawing from nature, created masterworks of color, pattern, form, light and shadows for much of his long life of 94 years. Born May 10, 1923 Ralph was aware that as an artist he lived