One of the greatest artists America has produced.
—The New York Times, 1942
He made a strong impression not only upon American art, but upon the art of the world.
—New-York Tribune, 1916
[Among] a small group of about the strongest individualists in the history of art.
—The New Yorker, 1947
Eleven years in the making, Questroyal Fine Art is proud to present Ralph Albert Blakelock: The Great Mad Genius Returns. A comprehensive and groundbreaking sequel to Questroyal’s renowned 2005 show, this exhibition delves even deeper into the mystifying psyche of America’s greatest visionary painter. Exceeding in both scope and quantity the 1947 Whitney Museum of American Art’s and 2008 National Academy Museum’s exhibitions, The Great Mad Genius Returns, will feature 125 paintings. Every painting will be for sale. Many of the best examples of Blakelock’s iconic moonlights and American Indian encampments will be on view, alongside rarely seen subjects, including late works created while he was institutionalized.
At the time of his death in 1919, Ralph Albert Blakelock was hailed by the London Times as “one of the greatest of American artists.” Yet he had spent almost all of the previous eighteen years confined to a mental institution, separated from a family who was living in extreme poverty, and without access to the art materials he had used to create his masterpieces. Despite these hardships, he created an incredibly unique, visionary, and modern body of work that continues to inspire audiences a century later. Deeply inspired by his Western voyages and the time he spent with American Indian tribes, Blakelock used landscape painting as a means of expression and unlike any other artist at the time turned totally inward, eventually inventing scenes rather than painting from nature. He developed a distinct technique to create an intense mood, the effects of which create a powerful viewing experience. As Questroyal owner Louis Salerno describes, “Somehow, without warning, Blakelock’s art brings us face-to-face with life in the raw, revealed in a way that circumvents our intellect and resonates at the core of our being. It takes us to a place, common to all mankind, in the deepest part of our minds, where we are bound to the most primal life force.”