Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Portraits in dentistry

Some months ago, we received a query about the artist who painted the lovely portrait of Dean David W.E. Baird, MD, which hangs above the fireplace in one of the rooms of the Old Library Building, F. Dennis Ramsay. Ramsay, who just died in February 2009, completed the painting in 1968. Portraitist of such notables as Britain's Prince Philip and Iraq's King Faisal, Ramsay certainly had an international reputation as an artist--but why did the school select him to paint Baird?

The commission had been awarded to Ramsay, it seems, because of an earlier portrait he had done of Harold J. Noyes, then Dean of the University of Oregon Dental School. The community was so impressed by that painting that his name was forwarded--and perhaps only his name--to the committee working on Baird's portrait.

On Friday, I had the distinct pleasure of finally seeing the Ramsay Noyes portrait, along with portraits of Dean Herbert Miller (painting) and Dean Louis Terkla (photographic). Current Dean Jack Clinton was kind enough to pull them out of their storage closet for a quick photo shoot. Needless to say, the photo doesn't do any kind of justice to the Noyes portrait, which is indeed as captivating as rumor had suggested. It's wonderful to have two fine examples of Ramsay's work here on campus.

Portraits, top to bottom: Noyes, Miller, Terkla

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