Tribute to Raymond Klee - Barry-born artist who won critical acclaim across the world
WORK IN PROGRESS: Raymond described himself as a "semifigurative painter" and one who also paints in a post impressionist style.
A BARRY-BORN artist who received widespread acclaim abroad, but went off-radar in his hometown, has died in his adopted home of Ireland.
Raymond Klee, 88, died in Bantry on January 3, having suffered from Alzheimers for the last three years of his life.
Raymond was a member of the Romilly School choir as a youngster and worked in Yeandle's butchers, to help support the family after his mother died giving birth to his brother.
He served at sea, throughout WW2 in the Merchant Navy T2R21X as gunner crew, and right up until the late forties.
Following his service career, he studied drawing at Birmingham Art College, having discovered painting classes were full. He was encouraged to try watercolours, then graduated to oils, and lived in the Montmatre artists' quarter in Paris, and also southern France.
At the time - the late 1950s and 1960s - he was the only British painter to be elected a member of the Syndicate of Montmarte art group, whose members have included Picasso and Braque. He was later based in Brighton.
The grandfather-of-one painted standing up, using a palette knife and plywood.
He was the UK's official artist for the 'British Weeks' organised abroad by the Department of Trade and Industry.
He visited US states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York - and in 1974 American TV viewers saw him paint a huge landscape from start to finish, during a two-and-a-half hour show on CBS.
The DTI also sent him to Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, and the West Indies.
His work Dream Harbour was voted in the top ten in a 1973 popularity poll organised by The Fine Art Trade Guild.
Brother Peter, 78, of Hanover Court, Barry, said: "He's done all his work away from here, and nobody really knows his name and that he's from Barry.
"Now he's dead he might get some notoriety.
"He was well travelled, but his final ambition was to return to Barry."
Raymond Klee's ashes will be interred at Barry Cemetery in April.
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