Ralph Putzker
Painter, Photographer, Teacher


“All of my life I have made images. My earliest memories are those of getting wailed on by my parents because somebody had given me a new box of crayons and I was redecorating the living room. My father used to bring home legal memo pads from the office and I would totally fill those with drawings. I made images and made images and made images. All of the jobs I’ve ever held have been basically toward that idea of making images.”

-from an interview with Harry J. Johnson, 1989

Ralph at the Ansel Adams Yosemite Workshops. Photo by Donna Ottosen.

Ralph, Grass Roots Ranch. 1977. Stephen Johnson

Ralph Putzker was born in San Francisco. Ralph becme invloved in the arts early in life, helping paint some of the WPA Murals including those at the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park. He served in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II doing aerial photography and mapping.

Ralph became widely known and loved as an extraordinary teacher and inspiration to many students struggling to be artists. His tenure from 1953 at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), San Francisco State University as Professor of Art (1959-1991) and Chairman of the SFSU Art Department, his many classes for the University of California Extension, and his workshops with Al Weber, Dorr Bothwell and Hal Halberstadt, are just a few of his teaching venues.

This website begins with a few of Ralph's paintings and will expand with watercolors, photographs, writings and the history of this remarkable man's career. Ralph will hopefully contribute directly to the evolution of this site.

We are actively gathering material for this website and Ralph's archives. Please be in touch if you can lend artwork, recollections and other information.

Watercolors Page

Paintings Page

Postscript: Ralph passed away on October 6, 2006. His ashes were scattered at sea offshore of his beloved Grass Roots Ranch, Half Moon Bay. He will be dearly missed.

Ralph reviewed this website and was quite pleased. He intended to make direct contributions to the site, but it never happened.

Ralph's Doctoral Thesis: Cultivating Creativity in Adults. UC Berekely. 1969.

Photographs of Ralph


Ralph Putzker Interview: Art assistant at the Beach Chalet
A Recollection by Susan Platte

A Recollection by Tony Lovette

Ralph Putzker recollections by Ruth Canaway

Teaching Resources by Ralph Putzker

Website and Scans by Stephen Johnson. Please contact Stephen Johnson at info@sjphoto.com for contributions of material.
Artwork Copyright ©2001 by Ralph Putzker. All Rights Reserved worldwide.
June 5, 2020