In the Primordial Woods

by Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847–1919)
Oil on canvas
17¾ x 23⅞ inches
Signed lower right in arrowhead: RA Blakelock



George F. McMurray, Glendale, California (as Indian Encampment)

Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, on long term loan from above, 1970s–80s

Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, New York

Private collection, New York

Sale, Brunk Auctions, Asheville, North Carolina, March 13–14, 2015, lot 79, from above


The Enigma of Ralph A. Blakelock, 1847–1919, The Art Galleries, University of California Santa Barbara, California, January 7–February 2, 1969; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California, February 15–March 16, 1969; Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona, March 24–April 27, 1969; The Heckscher Museum, Huntington, New York, May 17– June 23, 1969, no. 76 (as Indian Encampment)

Ralph Albert Blakelock: The Great Mad Genius Returns, Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York, November 11–December 10, 2016


David Gebhard and Phyllis Stuurman, The Enigma of Ralph A. Blakelock, 1847–1919 (Santa Barbara: University of California, 1969), 28, no. 76 (as Indian Encampment).

Ralph Albert Blakelock: The Great Mad Genius Returns (New York: Questroyal Fine Art, 2016), plate 48.

Note: Prior to the discovery of further information and provenance, this painting’s University of Nebraska’s classification was: NBI-800-III, which neither confirms nor denies authenticity. Based upon a review of the painting and the additional data, we are confident that it is an authentic work by Ralph Albert Blakelock.

Artist Biography

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, in the backwoods of Upstate New York, he languished in a mental institution as his paintings began to break American records. So great was his fame that at an auction in the Plaza Hotel ballroom the total realized for his paintings exceeded the totals for the Monets, the Rembrandts, the Renoirs, the Pissarros, and the Botticellis.

Forever true to his own vision, he lived in abject poverty in the years before he was institutionalized, and even then he never ceased painting, pulling out his own hair for brush bristles and using tobacco juice to augment the meager

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