on St. Mary's Lake by R. E.
Oil on Canvas
Hockaday Permanent Collection
R. E. DeCamp
(1858 - 1934)
Ralph Earl DeCamp was
born in Attica, New York. He grew up
in Minnesota, by the Red River. He
ran a threshing business, but also
made a name for himself as an artist
in the Midwest. Charles Fee, a
high-ranking executive for the
Northern Pacific Railroad, asked the
painter to join this corps of
artists working on the Northern
Pacific's behalf, and the young
artist accepted. DeCamp found
himself bound for Yellowstone
National Park in early summer 1885.
In Helena he began working for the
United States Surveyor General's
Office until 1924.
Charles M. Russell and DeCamp became
lifelong friends. Russell admired
his mastery as a landscape painter,
one time remarking, "that boy can
sure paint the wettest water of
anybody I know. You can hear his
rivers ripple." After nearly fifty
years as a mainstay of Montana art, DeCamp's life in Helena came to a halt
when his wife Margaret passed away unexpectedly in November
1934. He moved to Chicago and died there two years later.