Tuesday, October 16, 2018

In Memory of Mel Ramos

Mel Ramos at Magnolia Editions


We are sad to report that longtime friend of the studio and Pop Art pioneer Mel Ramos passed away this weekend at the age of 83.

Born in Sacramento on July 24, 1935, Ramos studied art and art history at Sacramento State College. He taught at local high schools and held a teaching position at CSU Hayward from 1966-1997, continuing as an emeritus professor while teaching intermittently at CCAC (now California College of the Arts).

All the while Ramos maintained a highly prolific studio practice which, in addition to his signature oil paintings on canvas, encompassed a variety of printmaking techniques including silkscreen, etching, woodcut, and more.

Mel Ramos - Wonder Woman, 2014
woodcut with acrylic
image: 37 x 26.75 in. paper: 44 x 30 in.
Edition of 30


Ramos's work was exhibited and appreciated worldwide; in later years, he enjoyed great acclaim particularly in Germany, where it seemed there was a nearly continuous demand for his colorful, instantly recognizable Pop Art style.

In 2010, Villa Stuck in M√ľnchen, Germany mounted a major solo exhibition, "Mel Ramos: 50 Years of Pop Art," comprising five decades worth of work by Ramos including paintings, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures. Another major exhibition of his work was held at the Albertina in Vienna, Austria in 2011.

German galleries and collectors figured prominently in the enthusiastic response to the editions Ramos published with Magnolia over the last several decades.

These projects included woodcut images of classic superheroes; tapestry versions of some of his most iconic paintings; a limited edition, laser-cut jigsaw puzzle featuring Ramos's take on comic book hero Captain Midnight; and the Albrecht Durer tribute Leta on Durer's Rhino, an etching with UV-cured acrylic ink on paper, executed at Magnolia with the help of master printers Tallulah Terryll and Nicholas Price and additional assistance from artist Guy Diehl.


Mel Ramos - Superman, 2014
woodcut with acrylic
image: 37 x 26.75 in. paper: 44 x 30 in.
Edition of 30


"Mel Ramos: 50 Years of Superheroes, Nudes, and Other Pop Delights," a retrospective of over 50 years of Ramos's work was exhibited at the Crocker Art Museum in his hometown of Sacramento in 2012.

Mel often visited Magnolia with his wife Leta and daughter/studio manager Rochelle Leininger. Below please find a gallery of memories from some of his recent visits.

Ramos with artwork by Don & Era Farnsworth; note his Mel Ramos t-shirt!


Ramos with an early proof of the UV ink layer of his 2015 Hawkman woodcut edition


Ramos with proofs of his 2015 Hawkman woodcut edition


Ramos and Guy Diehl with proof of his 2016 etching Leta on Durer's Rhino


Diehl, Ramos, and Don Farnsworth with proof of his 2016 etching Leta on Durer's Rhino


Ramos celebrating with Magnolia staff at Bay Wolf restaurant in Oakland, CA


A film crew captures Magnolia master printer Nicholas Price printing a Ramos woodcut at Magnolia


Ramos with proofs of his 2014 woodcut Wonder Woman


Don Farnsworth, Guy Diehl, Ramos, and master printers Nicholas Price and Tallulah Terryll with proofs of Ramos's 2014 woodcut Wonder Woman


Ramos editioning Wonder Woman with Tallulah Terryll and Rochelle Leininger


Farnsworth and Ramos with the latter's label design for Christian Tschida winery


Ramos at home in his Oakland studio with proofs of his 2016 etching Leta on Durer's Rhino


Rochelle Leininger, Mel Ramos and Leta Ramos at Ramos's studio with proofs of his 2016 etching Leta on Durer's Rhino


Portrait of Mel Ramos by Don Farnsworth


Portrait of Mel Ramos by Don Farnsworth


Ramos at home in his Oakland studio


Ramos with work by George Miyasaki at a memorial for Miyasaki


Ramos with Price and Ernst Hilger at Magnolia Editions


Mel and Leta Ramos with Beverly Berrish at Magnolia Editions


Ramos at Magnolia Editions


Portrait of Mel Ramos by Don Farnsworth

More art by Mel Ramos from Magnolia Editions