VARNEY

Palm Beach Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

the Green­brier re­sort in White Sul­phur Springs, W.Va., Ralph painted a full-length por­trait of Princess Grace. The por­trait is one of two in ex­is­tence, as it is a replica of the orig­i­nal he painted for Prince Rainier. That one hangs in the pink palace in Monte Carlo.

But Ralph, who worked closely with his as­so­ciate and busi­ness man­ager Steve Mohler, was more than just an artist to be re­mem­bered for his client list.

He was born to ele­gance in Vir­ginia’s horse coun­try, where he de­vel­oped his fine man­ners and his abil­ity to chat with folks any­where about any­thing — of­ten about places where he had trav­eled, all over the world.

He was a man with an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for op­u­lence, who loved dec­o­rat­ing and mix­ing pe­ri­ods of fur­nish­ings with glam­orous fabrics and ac­ces­sories. Over-draperies and crys­tal chan­de­liers were a part of his ev­ery­day think­ing.

Ralph was known as a per­fect gen­tle­man, and he was fre­quently in­vited to so­ci­ety par­ties and ben­e­fits all over the world, where he of­ten ap­peared in his per­fectly pressed blue blazer, some­times adorned with medals he re­ceived from var­i­ous sul­tans or princesses.

He loved the whirl of Palm Beach life and en­joyed his home and pool just off Fla­gler Drive in West Palm Beach. I al­ways smiled when I vis­ited the Cowan prop­erty, be­cause out front there was al­ways a stretch limou­sine, one that the artist used for his ar­rivals at par­ties.

He loved to make peo­ple happy, and his gen­eros­ity to oth­ers was re­flected in his por­traits. He saw beauty in the faces of all who posed for one of his works — and he made sure his paint­ings al­ways height­ened the beauty he per­ceived. No won­der his sub­jects loved their por­traits — and I cer­tainly never met any­one who com­plained about his in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Courtesy Dorothy Draper and Co.

Ralph Wolfe Cowan and Prince Al­bert stand be­fore a Cowan por­trait of Princess Grace.

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