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Kenneth Riley

Secret Place
, Oil, 24" x 48" ©



A realist painter of the Old West and a highly successful illustrator, Kenneth Riley was born in Waverly, Missouri in 1919 and has had a studio in Tucson, Arizona from 1971. He was raised in Kansas and received his art education at the Kansas City Art Institute, where he was a student of Thomas Hart Benton. Aware of Riley's unusual talent, a high school art teacher had paid for his first semester of tuition at the Institute.

In 1941, Riley went to New York to study with Frank DuMond at the Art Students League, and he also took evening classes at the Grand Central School of Art and with illustrator Harvey Dunn. Riley began his illustration career by selling work to the pulp magazines for fifteen dollars each, but enlistment in World War II as a combat artist redirected his work.

After the War, he returned to illustration, contributing to magazines including National Geographic, and the Saturday Evening Post. President John F. Kennedy chose one of Riley's paintings for the White House collection. Riley went on painting trips to Yellowstone and the Tetons and taught at Brigham Young University in Utah and was so taken with the intensity of the light that he determined to move West. He is a charter member of the National Academy of Western Art, and in 1982 was elected to the .

Source: Peggy and Harold Samuels, Contemporary Western Artists (Bonanza Books, 1985).






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Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas. Site last updated January 2004.