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Selected works by Ralph Coburn

Ralph Coburn

born 1923

Writing in 1991, Barbara Swan referred to fellow artist and friend Ralph Coburn as “one of the best kept secrets on Cape Ann … a very distinguished private artist.” Today, 20-plus years later, Coburn remains one of the region’s most prominent contemporary artists, still hard at work, still one of Cape Ann’s best kept secrets. In 2012–13, the Cape Ann Museum presented the exhibition Arranged by Choice, an overview of Ralph Coburn’s long and notable career. The exhibit explored Coburn’s early experimentation with the ideas of chance and choice in the 1950s, his years as a graphic designer in the 1960s and '70s, and his continuing fascination with the possibilities offered by use of the grid in his artwork. The Cape Ann Museum was honored to have the opportunity to highlight the art of this seminal painter and to share with viewers the work of this truly remarkable American artist.