John Plummer Ludlum’s art career spanned over 70 years as recognized American talent. Beginning with his first exhibit in
He was born in
At twenty Mr. Ludlum returned to the east coast where he actively pursued these interests. He studied at the Art Students League, NYC where he was offered a teaching position, and The National Academy of Design, NYC. He also studied stage design as a hobby, and did the designs for two productions, one of which was the Provincetown Follies, Red Sails in the Sunset.
them, the dean of Modern Dance, Ruth St. Dennis, many ballerinas and well known “Trio National,” from
Later, moving his studio to
Ludlum has always been a pioneer. His were the first serigraphs in fine art in
Ludlum decided to follow the sun and early in 1945 moved to
In 1945 Ludlum also pioneered the use of fluorescent color in fine art, using this entirely new method of application which enabled him to extend the palette, from the lightest artists colors, on into light itself. He called his method “Living Light” (copyright J P Ludlum).
In 1954 Ludlum met and married Shirley Grote, herself a painter and sculptor, and bought her an English Manorhouse in the
Ludlum liked to paint beauty. A true positive thinker, he brought out the best in those around him, as well as the scenes and portraits he painted.
Preferring a “low profile” whenever possible, this tall, gentle man shunned the limelight in favor of the quiet enjoyment of his work, still, he was drawn into the public eye because of his artistic skills and innovative techniques.
Ludlum was always testing, changing, trying new ways to do things. Known as “The MASTER OF LIGHT” since 1945, he was equally at home in the use of pastel, oil, watercolor, acrylic and florescent colors, his versatility included portraits, landscapes, floral, figure studies, abstracts and religious works.
Because of the worsening smog in
Believing that religion is the strongest organizing force for good, many of Ludlum’s greatest works are based on themes of great religions of the world. He won four first awards in the subject in International Competition in
The Ludlum “Nativity” stands six foot high and nine foot wide, including its hand carved, free standing frame. Ludlum used a Byzantine style, oil and fluorescent colors, with gold and silver metallic powders to create this masterpiece, giving the breath-taking effect of jewel tones in light. The panel took three and one half years to complete.
As special guests of the U.S. Army, the Ludlums flew to
The Augusta Symphony Orchestra was also featured on the program and their string section played, behind the curtain as the great painting was shown.
The United States Air Force honored the Ludlums and their party at a formal one artist, one painting exhibition and reception of the “Nativity” at their facility at
“Gevaert,” the famous European film manufacturers, chose the “John Plumer Ludlum Treasures in Fine Art for Collectors” series for use in their international advertising.
Ludlum was commissioned by the United States Space Program to create a series of eight foot florescent panels of the early space rockets and facilities. These were exhibited in the Armory, NYC (circa 1955).
His work was exhibited with the Dead Sea scrolls at the dedication of the “
As a leading American artist, and “positive thinker,” Ludlum appeared on National television (Hour of Power, 1977), and he and his artist wife, Shirley, were the subjects of a one half hour TV interview on “Riverpark” “Its Great to be Alive,’ series. (1977)
The national Woman’s magazine, “Virtue” devoted a ten page article to John and Shirley and their art including a three page center-foldout of the Ludlum “Nativity.” (1979)
Among Satisfied Clients and Exhibitors are:
Merrill Lynch, Pierce Fenner & Smith,
Rutan & Tucker, Attorneys,
Stokely Foods Products family,
Ford Motor Company
Walter Foster Art Books
Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz
Museum of Science and Industry, NYC
Mrs. Bonita Granville Wrather
Cryson Greeting Cards
Roy Rogers and
Black light paintings purchased and exhibited by United States Government Space Program and exhibited at the Armory, NYC
Artists Guild of America, Inc.
Marvin Newman Gallery,
John Plummer Ludlum, American (1906-1993) oil on canvas "Back Home" 16 x 20 inches, with certificate of authenticity from the Ludlum Art Center, signed by Shirley Ludlum and booklet and photograph of painting. sold
TO JOHN PLUMMER LUDLUM
My Beloved Husband
John had a great and wonderful heart, big in every sense. It was damaged by an illness in his teens and he was not expected to live a long life. Sunday, September 12, 1993, he would have been 87.
He never told me of the good deeds he did before we met, but, over the years many of his friends came up to me to say he had paid their rent, or fed them and their family for months until they could get on their feet.
John never took offense, never criticized, never acted discouraged, or pessimistic. He was always gentle, undemanding and happy. He always took things in stride which would have felled many people. I always told him he was part angel and was always in awe of John and his remarkable attitude.
John never complained about anything. I feel sure that his positive attitude towards life, and his calm acceptance of all circumstances, contributed greatly to his long and produective life. John never took a pain pill. He told me that if there was discomfort he put himself in a frame of mind so he didn't feel it.
John was a great artist. I was so proud of his beautiful paintings, but, even more proud of him as a man. He left me a great legacy of love and beauty, an example and a direction. In our 39 years together, 24 hours a day, we never had a word between us except love and gentleness. Our taste and judgement were uncannily alike, and our greatest priority was the happiness of one another.
John was a true gentleman, always, and in every sense of the word, at home, when we were alone, perhaps even more than around others. He was so loving. I always felt so humble and blessed to have him for my very own, on this plane and we believe forever.
John and I have strong faith and I wanted his service to be as cheerful as we could manage. Only our closest relatives and friends were called. We were not able to reach everyone as the time was short to avoid the Labor Day week-end, but many came and the banks of lovely flowers added such beauty. Our Reverend Coffin gave such a fine and uplifting tribute it made a beautiful service.
The many friends who came forward and told wonderful little insights on their personal experiences with John surprised and touched us all. It was like seeing different facets of color that come when the light hits a beautiful diamond.
Sometimes I feel John's strong, happy presence. It gives me strength.
God chooses our time, in his wisdom. He is sustaining me and I am doing very well, mostly. John and I thank you for being our friends.