Shead and the Bishop

Back when I first started unraveling the travels and works of Ralph Brownell Shead I came across this article in the Indianapolis Start dated January 8, 1935 (Elvis Presley’s Birthday).


Shead had returned to Norman in 1933 following the murder of his brother in New Jersey.  He stayed in town for two years working on various paintings for the University of Oklahoma and a potrait of Bishop Francis Kelley.  I reached out the the diocese but their archivist had just retired and things were in a bit of a transition. So on a hunch I emailed who was listed as the librarian at Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa. Turns out he was the business teacher and assistant technology technician.  He worked on it for a few days and then sent me these wonderful photos



I had no idea it was a full figure portrait, I had assumed it was sitting (for no reason whatsoever really). You can see it is behind glass which protects it but makes it a beast to photograph and I imagine this is about the best one can do without closing the hallway and using special equipment.

So another portrait that’s been hanging in plane sight for god knows how long comes to the fold in this ever growing collection of Shead work.

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