Richard Guy Walton

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Richard Guy Walton

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Monumental Modernist Nude

- Oil on heavy cardboard
- Sight 30" high x 23" wide
- Frame: 36” high x 28” wide
- Signature: Lower left

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About the work

Richard Guy Walton (1914-2005) was a featured artist in 2011 exhibition titled “Post-War Bohemians in Northern Nevada” at the University of Nevada’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. The exhibition focused on post-war modernist works by “a tight-knit group of artists doing their own thing, producing colorful, nontraditional art and living lifestyles that matched.” Walton’s Modernist Nude is an early example of the works produced during this period.  

The painting reflects the modernist themes that rejected styles of the past; emphasizing instead innovation and experimentation in forms, materials and techniques in order to create artworks that better reflected modern society. 

Provenance provided by the former owner offers fascinating insights into the painting’s origins:

My wife’s mother Margaret was the head of the USO during WWII at the Reno Army Airport, known today as Reno Stead Airport. As head of USO from 1943 through 1945, Margaret planned activities at the base for the servicemen, including plays and dances. She knew Richard Walton, and asked him to create a painting she could use as a prop in one of her plays. She wanted an image that the servicemen would like, so Walton painted a nude that, as the story goes, the artist’s wife posed for. 

About the artist… 

Richard Guy Walton arrived in Reno in 1929. In 1934 he strolled the outskirts of Las Vegas with fellow Nevada artist James Swinnerton, who persuaded Walton to attend Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. He returned to Nevada to join the Federal Arts Project and began experimenting with American scene painting of the 1930s, which evolved into the style and influences reflected in his Modernist Nude.  

Walton’s works have been widely exhibited, including shows at the University of Chicago, San Francisco's DeYoung Museum and Museum of Art, and in New York galleries. Despite the pull to relocate to a one of the art colonies in a major city, Walton could not be persuaded to abandon the culture and environment of Nevada. 

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