- Richard Cramer
- 87 years old
- Taught at Temple
- Art professor took his students on annual foliage trips
Richard Cramer preferred Lord Chesterfield Ale for some social gatherings, and was happy to share. He also loved to teach outdoors.
For a good portion of his 37 years as a professor of painting and drawing at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Mr. Cramer annually took his class of around 20 students to Schuylkill County, Pa., amid the dazzling fall foliage, for his course Urban Industrial Landscape Painting.
“It was just the perfect place to go and kind of lose yourself, and to draw and to paint and to photograph, someplace completely different from what you were used to,” said his wife, Carol Markel. “I went there quite a bit with Richard, and I always felt like I was going into Brigadoon. There would be a mist coming up, and all of a sudden you’d be in these little towns.”
She said Mr. Cramer would take his students to the shuttered St. Nicholas Breaker, a relic of the anthracite era, where they created “fantastic works of art” over the years, works later put on display around the county. Their day would end at the Yuengling mansion in Pottsville, where they would sleep on bedrolls on the floor.
“Richard would buy a couple of cases of Lord Chesterfield Ale, and they would just sit around in the kitchen talking and having fun,” Markel said.
Mr. Cramer, 87, died Friday, April 10, in White Plains, N.Y., of the coronavirus.
Born in Appleton, Wis., Mr. Cramer developed his love of art at Milwaukee’s Layton School of Art. He was appreciative of brilliant colors in landscapes, which included the scenery in the hilly copper-mining town of Bisbee, Ariz., near which he was stationed in the Army in 1955 — the inspiration for his Schuylkill County trips.
In the late 1960s, Mr. Cramer developed a color-mixing system that created paintings consisting of thousands of individual colors applied in small rectangular units, seeking to re-create a sense of colored light he experienced in Bisbee and other places.
Mr. Cramer’s paintings were shown in museums in New York and Boston, and his works are in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Cramer is survived by daughter Dianna and sons Joseph and Richard. Another daughter, Catherine, died in 2013.
— Joe Juliano