Ralph Stackpole

CFA Service: 1941–1945

Sculptor, muralist, and painter Ralph Stackpole was the first West Coast-based appointee to the Commission of Fine Arts. Influenced by the artistic movements of art moderne and, later, social realism, Stackpole lived in San Francisco and completed many works in the area including sculptures for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, monumental sculpture for the San Francisco Stock Exchange, and Pacifica for the Golden Gate Pacific Exposition in 1939. During the Great Depression Stackpole painted murals for Coit Tower as part of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. For nearly two decades, beginning in the mid-1920s, he was an instructor at the California School of Fine Arts. Stackpole received his early art training in San Francisco, followed by studies at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1906 to 1908; while in Paris, he met and became friends with the muralist Diego Rivera. In 1911, he completed a year of training at the Robert Henri School of Art in New York and established his studio in San Francisco where he became recognized as a leading artist. Stackpole moved to France in 1949 where he lived until his death in 1973.