I had the privilege of meeting Ralph (who was also a hell of a raconteur) at my friends Mary McDonald and Bill Gallery's lovely estate out in Greene, Rhode Island. Their home has perhaps the most elegant landscaping I've witnessed at any home I've ever visited. Mary and Bill host a big summer party at their place every year for the old Rhode Island art crowd and, a few years back, as I was admiring the beauty of the layout, someone said to me, "Would you like to meet the man who created this?," and I was introduced to Ralph, who regaled a small group of us with hilarious and amazing stories for the next couple of hours.
Ralph Hartman was one of those secret Rhode Island heroes: one would be hard-pressed to come up with the name of another person as responsible for creating so much natural beauty in our little state.
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