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Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946
Obituaries, May 25, 2005
Michael Ramus, 87, of Skillman, died May 19 at the Stonebridge at Montgomery retirement community.
Born in Naples, Italy, he was a longtime Princeton resident.
A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, he attended Yale University and had further training at the Art Students League in New York City.
He served four years in the U.S. Army during World War II, where his duties included painting war-time patriotic posters. After the war, he volunteered as a night-time airplane spotter for civil defense in Princeton.
He was first employed as a comic book artist [at Fiction House] in New York City, and as a set designer in San Francisco. He became a commercial illustrator and cartoonist for major magazines such as Life, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, Reader's Digest and American Heritage. For a number of years he drew a weekly cartoon for The Princeton Packet. Also a painter and sculptor, he worked in a variety of media including collage and papier mache.
He was an enthusiastic amateur geologist who enjoyed trips to Red Lodge, Mont., with members of the Princeton University Geology Department. He was pleased to have unearthed the remains of a new type of dinosaur which was subsequently named after him and displayed in the University geology exhibit.
He was a member of the Society of Illustrators in New York City, the Princeton Artists Alliance, and the Second Sunday River Poets.
Predeceased by his wife, Grace Bigelow Cook, he is survived by two daughters, Anne Gray and Grace Ramus; a son, Peter; a sister, Anne Ramus; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service is planned for June.
Date of Birth: August 14, 1917
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Date of death: May 19, 2005
November 5, 2002
Art Gallery Features Work of Princeton Artist
The Rider Art Gallery will feature the illustrations of noted Princeton-based artist Michael Ramus Thursday, November 7 through Tuesday, December 17.
The show is titled, "This and That - The Art of Michael Ramus." An opening reception for the artist will be held in the gallery on November 7 from 5 to 7 p.m.
According to Harry Naar, professor of fine arts and director of the Rider University Art Gallery, upon first glancing at Ramus’ cartoons, illustrations, paintings and sculptures, most individuals will be struck by his ability to recreate simple, somewhat naïve images. There is, however, much to consider beyond the surface.
"Michael's images are not simple, superficial recordings of things, but images that encompass a wide variety of feelings, opinions and pictorial encounters about life," said Naar. "He creates illuminating puzzle-like images that reveal the comic and the sardonic, the ironic and the iconic, that we all at some point in our lives encounter."
Students enrolled this fall in Naar's gallery management class organized and mounted the exhibition. One student, Suzanne Dinger, a liberal studies major in Rider's College of Continuing Studies, interviewed the artist at his home and
studio. Her question and answer piece is featured in the exhibition's catalogue.
Regarding himself more of a drawer than a painter, Ramus reveals that he is often in search of a kind of "everyman figure" while artistically expressing his
basic view of the human condition. Ramus studied art at Exeter Prep School and later attended Yale Art School and the Art Student's League in New York
City. He landed his first job drawing comic books for Fiction House, a small New York-based publisher, during the 1930s.
Over the years, Ramus has also drawn cartoon illustrations for LIFE, Smithsonian, and Sports Illustrated.
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