Kinstler, Everett Raymond

IMG_1587Everett Raymond Kinstler is an American artist born in NYC. He started his career age fifteen drawing comic books, and illustrating for books and magazines. Concentrated on painting portraits, Eight US Presidents have posed for him: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump. Others who have posed for him include Katharine Hepburn; James Cagney; Gregory Peck; Christopher Plummer; Paul Newman and John Wayne. Smithsonian, National Portrait Gallery, Wash., DC has over 100 of his portraits. Visit Ray’s Web Site

The Lambs collection holds several works by Kinstler, including the portraits of Shepherd AJ Pocock and Shepherd Marc Baron.  Read about a portrait unveiling HERE.

Everett Raymond “Ray” Kinstler  (by Mary Alice Shearon)

Strange worlds indeed… He went from comic-books to portraits of the rich and powerful and sometimes it seems like he painted everybody: Tommy Lasorda, Katherine Hepburn, Tony Bennett, eight US Presidents. His works are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery holds 84 of his paintings. His name was Everett Raymond “Ray” Kinstler and he was a Lamb.

Born and raised in Manhattan, Ray had a life-long love for art and attended two high schools in New York City – the High School of Music and Art and the High School of Industrial Art. He started his professional career when he dropped out of high school to start inking and drawing works for the comic-book industry. The next year he took art classes so he could learn to draw the human form better. Before World War II was over he joined the Army, spending two years at Fort Dix. After his stint with the Army, he returned to the world of comic-books and by the 1950’s painting portraits was beginning to replace his “cowboys and cleavage” work for the comic-book industry. His portraits include some of the most memorable people of the 20th Century – people like Arthur Ashe, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dave Brubeck, Ayn Rand, Dr. Seuss, Betty Ford, Clint Eastwood, and so many more.

Early on in his career he studied at the Art Students League in New York. He returned to teach there from 1970-1974 and also subsequently led workshops at his Alma mater. One of Kinstler’s most famous students was his life-long friend Tony Bennett. After Kinstler’s passing, Bennet remarked “He was my greatest friend and my greatest teacher.”

Kinstler was a masterful storyteller. One of the best is one he told about Jimmy Cagney. As the Washington Post relates it , “He was sitting with Cagney once when a young actor approached him for advice. “And Jim looked over at the fellow,” Mr. Kinstler said in 2006, “and said, ‘Kid, learn your lines, be honest, plant your feet on the ground, and when you say something, mean it.’ And the way he said that still gives me chills.  “That’s the way I approach my own work. I learn my lines, I do the best I can, and I mean it.”

Ray was an Honorary Lifetime member of The Lambs starting in 1999. There are 3 Kinstlers in The Lambs holdings including portraits of two of its Shepherds – AJ Pocock and Marc Baron.

illustration in the public domain – see