Harlem River, 1961

by Jack Lorimer Gray (1927–1981)
Oil on canvas board
24 x 36 inches
Signed and dated lower left: JACK L. GRAY 61.; on verso: HARLEM[illegible] / MAJ. DEEGAN EXPRESSWAY/ FROM FORDHAM HEIGHTS. BRONX.

Artist Biography

Best known for his marine and harbor paintings, Jack Lorimer Gray was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. After two years, he left school and went on sketching trips both alone and with former classmate Joseph Purcell, living above a fish store. By the mid-1940s, his interest in marine subjects was so strong that rather than drawing the figures in his life drawing classes at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, he instead sketched a boat hull. He went on to spend several seasons with a Nova Scotia dory-fishing fleet,

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Best known for his marine and harbor paintings, Jack Lorimer Gray was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. After two years, he left school and went on sketching trips both alone and with former classmate Joseph Purcell, living above a fish store. By the mid-1940s, his interest in marine subjects was so strong that rather than drawing the figures in his life drawing classes at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, he instead sketched a boat hull. He went on to spend several seasons with a Nova Scotia dory-fishing fleet, from which he made many sketches and photographs. In 1948, a solo exhibition in Chester, Nova Scotia, attracted international attention. After living aboard boats in the early 1950s, Gray moved to New York City where he painted in Flushing Bay, near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and elsewhere along New York Harbor. In this period, he gained representation by Kennedy Galleries and was distinguished by a sold-out exhibition that was visited by officials like the Mayor of New York and the Canadian trade commissioner. In 1958, he was commissioned to make paintings of the actors and battle scenes in Spain for the production of the film “John Paul Jones.” In 1959, Gray moved to Winterport, Maine, painting by the banks of the Penobscot River, creating a series of paintings which were ultimately characterized by some critics as his best work. In 1961, his painting "Dressing Down, the Gully" was acquired by President John F. Kennedy, which garnered him press and commercial bids. After living again in Halifax in the early 1960s, Gray moved to a boat in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1965 while also maintaining a home in Nova Scotia. In his free time he was a skipper and sailed frequently to the Bahamas; he also owned several boats. His work is in the collections of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the United States Marine Corps Museum, among others.

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