Ralph DeCamp (1858 – 1936)

Ralph Earl DeCamp was born in New York, spent his childhood near Milwaukee, and moved to Minnesota at age thirteen. DeCamp operated a business while simultaneously painting and teaching in Minnesota. He studied at the Pennsylvania School of Art. He looked to the Northern Pacific, creating “art galleries” of the railroad stations in Montana. Through Realism, DeCamp captured national and state parks, and the upper Mississippi river in Minnesota. He received a railroad commission to paint Yellowstone National Park, and a commission by the Montana Capitol to create landscape murals. The scenic possibilities of working in Montana convinced the artist to shift his residence from Minnesota. In addition to living and painting in Montana, DeCamp was a draftsman for the Interior Department and organized the Helena Sketch Club with Charlie Russel. DeCamp’s legacy persists today as a noted early landscape painter of Montana terrain. Fellow Charlie Russel described his talent for the ability to transform paint into life full energy as DeCamp could “…paint the wettest water. You can hear the rivers ripple.”