Stein paintings at 
Dance Palace

07/24/2014

Ralph Stein suffered a stroke in 1962, when he was only 33 years old.  It impaired his ability to speak. But in recent years he had discovered a new passion that didn’t require words: painting. When he lived in New York City in the early 1950s, he wrote in a brief biography of his life, he spent time at an artists’ hangout, Waldorf Cafeteria, in Greenwich Village and met Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. He was drawn to Mr. Pollock’s abstract style. So after his stroke—though he’d just moved back to New York City from Sausalito, where he’d worked in a boat yard—he took his wife and two children and moved to Silver City, Nevada, seeking a quiet, remote location to help his recovery and allow him to pursue his passion, painting in Mr. Pollock’s abstract expressionist style. “He was really an expressionist, and he believed he was painting from his subconscious,” said his son, Thomas. He helped create an artisan cooperative in Silver City before eventually moving back to Sausalito, where he built his own house boat, and, in his final two years, to Walnut Place in Point Reyes Station. While living in the Bay Area he continued to paint and was also involved in activism against the war and the death penalty. “He was an eighty-five year old hippie radical,” said friend Paul Worsch, who also lives at Walnut Place, and even had a colorfully painted van. “It was kind of psychedelic looking,” he added. Mr. Stein passed away last February, and in his honor a group of friends have organized an exhibition of his paintings at the Dance Palace, which will run from August 1 to September 14. A reception and memorial will be held Saturday, August 9, from 3 to 6 p.m.