Ralph Goings

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Ralph Goings
Ralph Goings.jpg
Ralph's Diner (1981–1982), oil on canvas
Example of Photorealist Ralph Goings' work
Born (1928-05-09) May 9, 1928 (age 88)
Corning, California
Nationality American
Education California College of the Arts and Crafts
Known for Painting
Movement Photorealism

Ralph Goings (born 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.


Early life[edit]

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, Goings became exposed to art and painting in an art class and was inspired by his discovery of Rembrandt at his local library. He was encouraged by his aunt growing up 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.


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. Goings studied art at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. During his studies at California College of the Arts, he studied along other painters from the Photorealist Movement including Robert Bechtle and Richard Mclean as well as other artists including Nathan Oliveira He received his MFA in painting from Sacramento State College in 1965.

He was inspired by artists such as Wayne Thiebaud, Johannes Vermeer, Thomas Eakins. His interest in Photorealism sparked after being thoroughly disappointed with the quality of the pop art imagery at the time, he felt that if something was to represent an object then why not make it resemble a photograph as closely as possible.


Goings is a pioneer in the Photorealist Movement.[citation needed] His work is in many prominent art galleries including Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Museum of Contemporary Art.[citation needed]

"In 1963 I wanted to start painting again but I decided I wasn't going to do abstract pictures. It occurred to me that I should go as far to the opposite as I could. ... It occurred to me that projecting and tracing the photograph instead of copying it freehand would be even more shocking. To copy a photograph literally was considered a bad thing to do. It went against all of my art school training... some people were upset by what I was doing and said 'it's not art, it can't possibly be art'. That gave me encouragement in a perverse way, because I was delighted to be doing something that was really upsetting people... I was having a hell of a lot of fun..."[citation needed]

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