Milne Ramsey (1847-1915)

Milne Ramsey (1847-1915)

Milne Ramsey was born in Philadelphia in 1847 and served with the Pennsylvania Militia during the Civil War before enrolling in classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1863. For the next several years, he perfected his craft while working out of a studio on Walnut Street. His theme of choice was still life, a subject for which he is today best known, likely a result of the strong still life tradition in 19th century Pennsylvania espoused by the notable Peale family of artists and the German-born Severin Roesen.

Contact Vose about this artist
Read more about this artist...

In 1867, Ramsey traveled to Paris and joined the atelier of Leon Bonnat, where he continued painting still lifes while also exploring figure and landscape subjects. He lived abroad for almost fifteen years, but made several return trips home and remained involved in American art circles by exhibiting with the Pennsylvania Academy and the National Academy. While in France, he showed his work at the Paris Salon and joined other American expatriates in the colony at Pont Aven, Brittany, and also ventured to Switzerland, Austria and Italy. By the mid-1870s, Ramsey was sharing a studio on the Boulevard de Clichy with his friend Edwin Blashfield, a fellow student of Bonnat, where they hosted exhibitions of their work. In 1882, Ramsey settled permanently back home in Philadelphia and had an exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy featuring almost one hundred examples of his landscape, genre and still life pictures produced while abroad. 

Following his return, Ramsey became a more consistent exhibitor at the Pennsylvania Academy’s annuals, and recommitted his focus back to still life. His carefully composed arrangements of freshly cut flowers, delectable fruit, antique vases and pottery and even lobsters and fish, were admired for their varying textures and accuracy of detail, and were acquired by prominent Philadelphia art collectors including William B. Bement and Joseph and Sarah Harrison. 

In addition to the Pennsylvania Academy and National Academy, Ramsey showed with the Boston Art Club and the Brooklyn Art Association, and joined the Philadelphia Art Club in 1890. After his marriage to Rebekah Roberts in 1892, he began spending more time in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and later Bronxville, New York. The New Jersey shoreline inspired him to take up landscape again and towards the end of his life he also experimented with watercolor. The Ramseys eventually returned to Philadelphia in the early 1900s where Milne Ramsey passed away in 1915. Today his work can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Mint Museum, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

References: Falk, Who Was Who in American Art, 1999; The Art of Milne Ramsey, Chapellier Galleries, New York, New York, exhibition catalogue, 1974.

Request this artist