Fine Art & Contemporary American Craft

106 Main Street Brattleboro, VT | 802.257.7044

Paul Ortlip

Paul D. Ortlip (1926-2008), an American Impressionist, was the youngest of the seven offspring of renowned artists H. Willard Ortlip and Aimee Eschner Ortlip. He found art to be his life’s calling. Growing up with a paintbrush in hand, he trained with his parents in their fabled studio high above the Hudson River and Edgewater, on the cliffs of Fort Lee, New Jersey. He eventually raised his family of five daughters there. Paul served in the U.S. Army in Italy and Korea, and was a veteran of World War II. His military service was the beginning of many trips around the world, always with sketchbook in hand. Following his return to civilian life, he honed his painting and drawing skills in New York at the Art Students League and in Paris at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Ortlip was a NACAL artist, on assignment for the U.S. Navy, recording his experiences on-site during the war in Viet Nam. He was a participating artist for NASA on the recovery ships for Gemini 5, as well as the Apollo 12 and Apollo 17 lunar missions. Decades later, his final major portrait, of Apollo 17 Commander Eugene A. Cernan, was unveiled in Fort Lee at a retrospective exhibit in 2007, with Captain Cernan on hand for the ceremony. As a portrait artist, he painted dozens of elected officials throughout northern New Jersey and beyond, including Presidents George H.W. Bush and John F. Kennedy. He served as artist-in-residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University for fourteen years. His work hangs in a vast number of private collections, as well as the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, the United States Naval Historical Center, the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, and the Montclair Art Museum. Paul maintained his artistic ties to his Hudson River heritage. He was friends with many of the shad fishermen who worked along the river bank in Edgewater, and filled sketchbooks with drawings and watercolors to complement the many oil paintings of the fishermen at work. The vast perspective of water, sky and cityscape was a constant fascination for him. From his studio overlooking the river and the twinkling lights of New York City, Paul painted the magnificent views throughout the changing seasons and the evolving skyline. He was also a fixture in his local community, and his portraits documented many of the area’s residents through several decades.