Raymond Jonson (1891-1982)

portrait of artist Raymond Jonson


Raymond Jonson is best known as the founder of the Transcendental Painters Group in Santa Fe, where he settled in 1924 and painted works that were pure abstraction.  Before this time, he was in Chicago for fourteen years and there had many formative experiences that led to his later career. His mentor in Chicago was modernist B.J.O. Nordfeldt, and he was much affected by the Armory Show Exhibition of 1913 when it traveled to Chicago. For five years, Jonson was at the city's avant-garde Little Theatre, where he was a set and lighting designer.

However, he left Chicago to avoid "crowds, dirt, and chaos of the city for peace, serenity and closeness to nature that he could find in Santa Fe."

Raymond Jonson was one of the foremost 20th century nonobjective painters in America. Although his celebrity was not that of other painters who traveled to New Mexico, such as Georgia O’Keeffe or Marsden Hartley, his contributions to art were on par with the most celebrated Modern artists. He founded many artist groups in both Chicago and New Mexico, including the Transcendental Painting Group and Cor Ardens. Greatly influenced by Wassily Kandinsky and the Bauhaus artists, he advanced new technologies in American art (e.g. the use of the airbrush and polymer paints), and devoted himself to exploring the spiritual in art. The Jonson Gallery, founded in the 1950, was a permanent exhibition space dedicated to the progression and exhibition of spiritual-nonobjective art. It was not solely Raymond Jonson’s art which made him noteworthy, but his contributions to Art as an innovator, teacher, curator, and mentor.

Schools of Study

Portland Art Association School of Art, 1909
Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, 1910

Partial List of Collections

Amon Carter Museum of American Art, TX

Cincinnati Art Museum, OH

Dallas Museum of Art, TX

Denver Art Museum, CO

Jonson Gallery of University of New Mexico, NM

National Gallery of Art, D.C.

National Museum of American Art-Smithsonian, D.C.

New Mexico Museum of Art, NM

Pheonix Art Museum, AZ

Portland Art Museum, OR

Sheldon Museum of Art, NE

Selected Awards

Underwood Prize Exhibit: Exhibit of Works by New Mexico Painters

Englewood High Honors Prize, Chicago Exposition, 1924

The MacDowell Colony Scholarship, 1919

Selected Exhibitions

Museum of Non-Objective Painting

Museum of New Mexico

Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Art Institute of Chicago




Elizabeth Kennedy, Chicago Modern, 1893-1945

Addison Rowe Fine Art

Selected Works in Our Inventory