Events Exhibitions

Ray Skolfield – A Three Day Retrospective to Mark the Artist’s 100th Birthday



To mark Hallowell artist Ray Skolfield’s 100th birthday the Kennebec Valley Art Association will be producing a retrospective exhibit of the late artist’s early works. This historic exhibition will take place for three days only, at the Harlow Gallery the weekend of July 31st through August 2nd.

Join us at the opening celebration on Friday evening, July 31st from 5 to 8 p.m.



The exhibition will feature Ray’s lithographs completed during his time as a WPA artist, paintings from the time he spent as an inpatient at the Augusta Mental Health Institute (AMHI), plus work that chronicled events and scenes from his life in Gardiner, Hallowell, and Augusta. Some of the work will be offered for sale.

Through the month of July you can see a display on the artist in the store front window at the Harlow Gallery, including a vintage framed poster from a 1998 Skolfield exhibition at the Harlow Gallery. The poster, valued at $200, is being offered up for silent auction bids to benefit arts programming at the Harlow Gallery!

Thanks to our volunteer curator, Judith Herman, DVM. Many thanks to the following sponsors for helping us to make the Skolfield retrospective possible:

Katy Perry
Carolyn Nolin
Animal Wellness Center
Federle/Mahoney Lawfirm  of Hallowell



Born in Portland, Maine, Skolfield began his training as a five-year-old student at the Portland School of Art. As a young adult he studied at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, and he earned the highest honor at the Vesper George School. He attended the Art Students League in NYC on scholarship to continue his training, and while there he enjoyed critical success as a young artist.

Although he sold a cartoon to New Yorker magazine, and several others to a Broadway magazine, Skolfield was primarily employed as a WPA artist — under this federally funded program he worked on art projects, paintings and lithographs. His work from that time can be found in museums all over the country, including the National Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Baltimore Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Portland Art Museum (Oregon), St. Louis Art Museum, SF Museum of Art and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

In spite of his success as a professional artist during that period, work was scarce in the big city and Skolfield eventually returned to Maine. His health, both mental and physical suffered to the point that he was admitted to AMHI, where he remained a resident patient for 35 years. After his release he spent some time living in Randolph, and eventually moved to the Cotton Mill apartments in Hallowell. While living there he became an important and beloved fixture in the Hallowell community. He continued to paint daily until his death in 1996, and left behind a legacy of a unique, insightful and detailed graphical record of everyday life in America. Please mark your calendars and attend this important event!