Ralph Hamilton

By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 9, 2006

For years, he was a “non-compliant diabetic.” He thought the disease would get to him no matter how much effort he put into controlling it. Finally he really worked at keeping it under control. But his body was already damaged. He easily survived open heart surgery, driving a week after the quadruple bypass. But kidney failure was imminent. He said he would rather die than go on dialysis. He was always death-haunted. “I feel death all the time,” he said to me when he was still in his 20s. But an artist friend told me this story: they were having dinner a few weeks ago and Ralph ordered a glass of wine. At the end of the dinner, he said, “I didn’t really want any wine. But now that it’s almost gone, I wish it would last forever.”

Several of Ralph Hamilton’s paintings are currently in a group show at the Kidder Smith Gallery, 131 Newbury St, Boston | Through April 1 | reproductions at www.kiddersmithgallery.com.

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