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Jack Gray   Click Images to Enlarge

Jack L. Gray
Herring Ground, 1962

Oil on canvas
31 x 50 inches

Jack L. Gray
Through the Fog

Oil on canvas
28 x 42 inches

Una Gray

American, 1927-1981

Marine painter Jack Lorimer Gray (1927-1981) was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Scottish parents. His talents as an artist were spotted by E. Wyly Grier while Gray was still a child. He attended the Nova Scotia College of Art for one year, but left to work on fishing boats. He also studied at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. He was an excellent sailor, which is reflected in his paintings of fishermen, boats, and the piers and buildings of the waterfront

From 1947-1954 Jack and his first wife lived in Nova Scotia; their son was born in 1953.  During this time the artist created numerous watercolors and works on canvas, sharing a rustic studio with Joseph Purcell in the summer of 1947.

From 1955-1959 Gray lived in New York City, where he created the New York Harbor collection, which were turned into an important print collection. Some of the paintings were sold at the time and the remaining dozen or so were eventually made into reproductions. From 1959-1961 the artist lived in Winterport, Maine, he did some of his best work. Then, he moved back to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where his first marriage failed. In 1966, he moved and lived aboard boats in Palm Beach, Florida and exhibited on Worth Avenue. He soon remarried and had a second son.

Gray was an avid sailor and owned eleven boats, upon which either he lived, painted or fished.

Jack Gray is renown for painting fishermen in small skiffs and fishing boats, where atmospheric water and sky add drama and the time of day to his realistic scenes. Gray’s earthy, realistic color tones and exact sense of perspective depth serve his chosen subjects well. Not particularly interested in glamorizing life and work at sea, he captured the truthful essence of each scene with his artistic paintings. Solitary fishermen, active sportsmen and the traditional sailors of North America are portrayed. Living onboard a larger boat, which served as his studio, Gray would travel New York harbor in his 15-foot skiff named S.O.B. His observations evolved into an important body of work depicting the diverse nature of New York harbor. He managed to find an egress onboard the mothballed U.S. navy carrier ENTERPRISE affording him a spectacular vantage from which to observe and sketch. His paintings are actively sought throughout North America. When they surface in public sales, prices regularly exceed expectations. He painted marines all of his days, and as he evolved as an artist, each of his paintings display a universal respect for those who identify with the sea.

Gray is represented in the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA; Peabody Museum, Salem, MA; Museum of the City of NY, NYC; U.S. Marine Corps Museum; Huntington Hartford Museum, NY.

References: E.H.H. Archibald, Dictionary of Sea Painters: M.V. Brewington, The Marine Paintings and Drawings in the Peabody Museum; J.E. Cameron, Stonehurst by the Sea; Who Was Who in American Art