The Artists: Ralph Bagley
Ralph Bagley was a beloved artist and instructor who taught art in Central Florida from the 1950s until his death in 2008 at the age of 94. He was born in Bertrand, Missouri, and fell in love with his craft at the Flint Institute of Art in Michigan, continuing his studies in New York and Washington, D.C. Bagley and his wife, Marianne, moved to Orlando in 1950, where Bagley founded the Orlando Institute of Art, the city’s first fine arts school. Bagley depicted landscapes, still lifes, and portraits in a variety of media, including oil, watercolor, and charcoal.
Bagley also taught at Orlando Junior College, becoming head of the school’s art department in 1965. After the college closed in 1971, he taught at Lake-Sumter Community College, the Maitland Art Center, and the Loch Haven Art Center (now the Orlando Museum of Art). He toured the nation with at least 30 one-man art shows featuring his paintings. Among many positions he held in art organizations, Bagley was president of the Orlando Art Association and a founding member and president of the Artists’ League of Orange County. The works of his many students sustain his legacy.
Bagley will also be featured in Art Legends exhibitions at the Orange County Regional History Center (March 5 through May 29, 2016).