Ray Scepter BOYNTON (1883-1951)

“Ray Boynton, today one of California’s outstanding fresco artists, a master in many mediums, an art teacher and writer…

“Mural painting, as it has been carried on for a long time and as it is practiced generally today, has ceased to have any vital relation to the wall or to architecture in general, largely, I think, because so little of it is done on the wall. Being done always in the seclusion of the studio, it has lost the intuition of the wall and its discipline of scale and color. This discipline of the wall creating in place and within the proper limitations of materials and method is perhaps the most vital single factor in great mural design. Without these real limitations it has become simply the large easel picture pasted on the wall, generally a bit stilted and mannered and self-conscious, or else with limitations imposed on it that are so arbitrary and foreign that they are meaningless.
The shallow worship of sunlight in landscape, the doctrinaire ideas of ‘true’ color that deny the validity of the earth colors with their somber magnificence of reds and browns, the banal tricks of oil painting, have left us stammering before the wall, repeating shopworn theatrical commonplaces, making empty gestures for design, helpless with gold, not knowing the difference between enrichment and display, without even the language of a design that has monumental dignity of the authority of true decoration. If any true monumental style is ever evolved in this country it will have to be evolved on the wall, as it has been in every other instance.” Ray Boynton

Read Ray Boynton‘s biography in California Art Project, volume 9.

At a glance

Birth : January 14, 1883 in Whitten, Iowa (United States)
Death : September 25, 1951 in Albuquerque, New Mexico  (United States)
Arrival in San Francisco Bay area : 1915 (1920 according to California Art Project)
Married to : Margaret Gough († 1930)
Skills : Painting, muralist, writer and teacher at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley


Teachers, art education : William P. Henderson, John W. Norton and Wellington J. Reynolds (Academy of Fine Arts of Chicago)
Relations : Charles Norris, Rev. J.H. Ohlhoff, Lucien Labaudt, Bruce Neslon, Matteo Sandona, Frank Van Sloun
Patrons : Albert M. Bender, Bohemian Club,  Elizabeth S. Tower, Emanuel Walter, Charles Erskine Scott Wood
Institutions, clubs, venues : Bohemian Club, California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Carmel arts colony, Mills College,  San Francisco Art Association, San Francisco Beaux-Arts Association, California Society of Mural Artists (Head)
WPA Projects : Modesto Post Office, Coit Tower


1904 Chicago Society of artists
1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE)
1916 Hill Tolerton Gallery of San Francisco
1917 Palace of Fine Arts
1919 De Young Museum (San Francisco)
1929 Beaux Arts Gallery
1935 San Francisco Art Association
1935 San Francisco Art Center

Resources in the Bancroft Library


Ray Boynton. Dance collection [graphic]. BANC PIC 1975.034—B. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Catalog Record
Boynton, Ray. Miscellaneous prints [graphic]. BANC PIC 1975.036—A. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Catalog Record
Boynton, Ray. Bay Area landscapes [graphic]. BANC PIC 1975.033—ALB. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley Catalog Record
Boynton, Ray. Domestic life, 3800 feet deep, Empire Mine[s], Grass Valley, Calif. [graphic].  Catalog Record
Hamlin, Edith. Edith Hamlin: California artist: Davis, Calif. : typescript, 1981. BANC MSS 83/133 c. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Catalog Record


Fabilli, Mary (c1976). Ray Boynton and the Mother Lode : the depression years : [exhibition], May 4 through August 15, 1976, the Oakland Museum, History Special Gallery. [Oakland, Calif.] : History Dept., the Oakland Museum. Catalog record

Data Visualization : mapping of Ray Boynton’s biography

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s