Medici Gallery
Contemporary Art

Home   |   Exhibition Diary   |   Current Show   |   Next Show   |   Gallery Artists

Ray Donley

(Click here to return to the artist's work.)

'Ray Donley's paintings are part of the New Old Masters, a slowly but steadily emerging trend in contemporary art, involving not so much a "return to order" as it was once called, but the realization that avant-garde art has become an institutional cliché and what once looked liked the clichés of Old Masters are still full of potential.

Donley is clearly a master of the medium of oil paint, as his subtle layering and textural richness suggest. His work is highly evocative, emotionally persuasive and all the more so because of Donley’s exquisite chiaroscuro, his imagination needs no prompting. The Old Masters intuitively understood that there is always something strange in beauty.' -
Donald Kuspit

Donley's style – figurative, dramatic, full of high-contrast lighting – evokes that of the Old Masters, particularly the Dutch and Spanish portraitists of the 17th century, quite deliberately. That was the work that interested him as a young man – painters of the 14th and 15th centuries were, he says, "too Apollonian to me, too statuelike. By the 17th century, the painters looked like they were having fun. They were slapping the paint around." And that's what he sought to emulate when he became a studio art major at the University of Texas. But he couldn't find an instructor willing to help him develop that style, so he switched to art history and began to school himself. Donley calls himself "something of an autodidact," learning how to paint like an Old Master by immersing himself in the work of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Frans Hals and absorbing everything he could about their artistry. "My change to art history opened up so many doors aesthetically that I was able to see what I really wanted to do and refine what I wanted to do," Donley says. "I wanted to know the history of painting, the sociology, the phenomenology, the craft of painting, the fact of painting – I wanted to learn and master all of that."

Selected Exhibitions:


  • Morren Gallery, Utrecht, The Netherlands  


  • Nieto Fine Art, San Francisco, California


  • Laura Rathe Fine Art, Houston, Texas
  • Sarah Bain Gallery, Anaheim, California
  • The Russell Collection, Austin, Texas
  • Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia (2-person exhibition)


  • Blackheath Gallery, London, U.K.
  • Gallery Bienvenu, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois
  • Medici Gallery, London, U.K.
  • Sarah Bain Gallery, Anaheim, California
  • The Russell Collection, Austin, Texas


  • Galerie Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Gallery Bienvenu, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Medici Gallery, London, U.K.
  • Meyer Gallery, Park City, Utah
  • Definition Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Sarah Bain Gallery, Anaheim, California


  • Marshall Gallery, Arizona


  • Jack Meier Gallery, Houston


  • Sara Bain Gallery, Los Angeles
  • Art Palmbeach, Florida
  • Jack Meier Gallery, Houston


  • Trinity Gallery, Atlanta


  • Jack Meier Gallery, Houston Medici Gallery, Art London Sarah Bain Gallery, Los Angeles


  • San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts,
  • Principle Gallery,
  • Virginia Galleria II Canovaccio, Rome
  • Meyer Gallery,Utah
  • Sarah Bain Gallery, Los Angeles


  • Wright Gallery, New York


  • Wright Gallery, New York
  • Jack Meier Gallery, Houston


Ray Donley


The Medici Society Limited 2013. All Rights Reserved. All images protected under copyright.
Please address any enquiries concerning this site to