Ralph Hillbom was employed as a commercial artist for the Saint Augustine, Florida, local daily newspaper The Record.
In the 1920s, Hillbom settled in Florida, and through the Arts Club (now known as the Saint Augustine Art Association), produced and promoted art. He has the distinction of serving as the Saint Augustine Arts Club’s first president, beginning his term in late 1931.
He delivered the mission of the Arts Club, announcing, “Painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, all the arts are welcome in the membership of the club. They will be most welcome, either local artists or those from out of the city. It will be our particular duty to attract outsiders here, and give them opportunities for local acquaintanceships, and a club home.” (Torchia, Robert. Lost Colony: The Artists of St. Augustine, 1930-1950, p.11)
Earlier in his career, Hillbom had been associated with the Woodstock artists. He painted the landscapes of Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine with other Woodstock artists, such as Walter Koeniger. The Woodstock community was regarded as a source of high-quality art during the decade of the Great Depression.
His painting style was Realistic and Representational. The subject of his oils was most often natural inland or coastal scenery. Hillbom’s work is also represented in the Lightner Museum, a collection that showcases the works of America’s Gilded Age.
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