The Artist Birthday Series

Ralph Goings

Today’s Artist Birthday: Ralph Goings

Ralph Goings (b. May 9, 1928) is an American painter closely associated with the Photorealism movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He is best known for his highly detailed paintings of hamburger stands, pick-up trucks, and California banks, portrayed in a deliberately objective manner.

ralph goings portrait photo
Portrait of Ralph Goings, c. 1980  (photo by Doug Edmunds)

He was born to a working-class family in Corning, California and grew up during the great depression. During his freshman year of high school, he became exposed to art and painting in an art class and was inspired by his discovery of Rembrandt at his local library. While growing up, he was encouraged by his aunt to pursue drawing, as she bought him books and instructional materials. As he began painting in his earlier years, he used materials such as paint from the local hardware store and used old bed sheets when canvas was unavailable.

american salad 1966 goings
“American Salad,” Ralph Goings, 1966

After he served in the military, he enrolled in Hartnell College, in Salinas, California and was approached and encouraged to attend art school by Leon Amyx, who was the head of the art department at Hartnell at that time and a well-known painter.

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