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Ralph King, 1855-1926

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1855


Ralph Thrall King was a prominent Cleveland businessman, President of Realty Investment Co., collector of modern fine art prints and museum patron. He married Fanny Tewksbury King of Lexington, Michigan in Detroit in 1897. They had a daughter, Francis King, later Mrs Gilbert Schafer.


The Kings ammassed a significant print collection containing works by Whistler and Rembrandt, whose oeuvres they researched, and prints from the German and Italian schools. They also collected modern paintings and Chinese porcelain. Together they formed the Cleveland Museum of Art's Prints Department, Ralph King volunteering as its curator from 1919 to 1921. They helped found the Print Club of Cleveland in 1919 and were one of the principal benefactors of Cleveland Museum of Art, donating their collection of modern prints and other objects, 870 items in all. They were also important early contributors and founders of the Oriental Art Department. In 1919, Ralph King became Vice President of the Museum Board of Trustees. He was also Acting President of the CMA Board of Trustees before his sudden death in March 1926. Fanny King served on the Advisory Council of the CMA from June 1926 until her death in July 1949; their daughter then took on the role until 1968. The King family papers are held at Ingalls Library and Museum Archive at Cleveland Museum of Art; there is also a Ralph Thrall King Study Room.


Lugt, Frits, Les marques de collections de dessins et d'estampes: marques estampillèes et écrites de collections particulières et publiques; marques de marchands, de monteurs et d'imprimeurs; etc..., Amsterdam, 1921 (2220) and supplement, La Haye, 1956 (2220); Rosenblatt, Carole, 'The Print Club of Cleveland', International Print Collectors’ Societies Newsletter, vol. 5, no. 3, January 2009; 'In Memoriam: Mrs. Ralph King', The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, vol. 36, no. 8, October 1949, pp. 155-56; (accessed September 2009); (accessed September 2009).