Raymond Howell Biography

Raymond Howell




Raymond Howell was born in Oakland, California on September 7, 1927. A painter, printmaker, collage artist, and muralist, Howell was self taught, citing an elementary school "punishment" as sparking his artistic path: for bad behavior, he was made to draw life-sized sketches of his fellow students on the blackboard. Howell often spoke of his experience as an African American child raised in the foster care system as a major influence on his career, both as an artist and an advocate and teacher for arts programs for minority children.

By the late 1950s Howell was a self-supporting artist who had exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Provincetown. He became known for his images of jazz musicians, African American culture, and children at play. In the 1960s he opened Art Associates West gallery and art school in San Francisco, which remained a fixture for nearly a decade. In 1965 he debuted his painting, "The Brown Family", at the opening of the Oakland Museum, which later purchased the work for its permanent collection.

In the 1970s and 80s he exhibited at International Art Expositions in both San Francisco and New York, and he co-founded Project Dare, an art school for poor and minority children in the Bay Area. In 1999, Stanford University showed a 40-year retrospective of Raymond Howell's work, which included portraits of Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and a mural of the Stanford women's basketball teams who won national championships in 1990 and '92. It hangs in the cafe of the school's Arrillaga Family Sports Center. 

Howell is widely credited with encouraging and promoting Black art and imagery when there was little interest from the American art world. He died on January 6, 2002, the same day the Oakland Museum opened an exhibition of his recent works. In 1969, the museum included Mr. Howell's painting "The Brown Family" in its inaugural exhibition and eventually bought the picture for its permanent collection.

Here is a link to Raymond Howell’s obituary: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Raymond-Howell-painter-printmaker-2885033.php