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Sullivan Goss ­ An American Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition of work by the beloved Santa Barbara artist, Ray Strong. The exhibit, A Legacy in Landscape, features an important selection of large work by the artist that has recently been acquired by the gallery.

As a founding member of the Oak Group, and highly respected teacher of plein air painting, Ray Strong is arguably the most influential Santa Barbara artist of the last fifty years. The artist played an indispensable part in creating Santa Barbara’s reputation as one of the world’s premier locations to create and collect plein air landscape paintings. In addition, his contributions to many of our public buildings and historic museums left a lasting impression on Santa Barbara’s artistic heritage. Before his arrival in southern California, Strong had made important contributions to American art through his work as a WPA muralist, and as one of the founders of the Art Students League in San Francisco in the 1930s. His painting of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge from 1934 was selected to hang in the Roosevelt White house, and now resides in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum.

In 1960, Strong and his wife Elizabeth, moved to Santa Barbara when the artist was commissioned to paint the background dioramas in the Bird Hall of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The artist’s influence in the region grew quickly and was solidified when he co­founded the preservationist painters collective, The Oak Group, which works to protect the California landscape from uncontrolled development. Strong continued to be a leader of this group for the next three decades until his death in 2006, at the age of 102.

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