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HENRY P. RALEIGH (1930 ~ 2017)

By Raymond J. Steiner
arttimesjournal October 11, 2017

Henry P. Raleigh — “Hank” as he allowed me to call him — had been our film writer since April of 1986. I was determined at the outset not to hire journalists for our art journal (est. 1984) but essayists who not only knew, but were passionate about their chosen field of the arts. I had heard about Henry Raleigh and that he was a professor at SUNY New Paltz, my alma mater. We agreed to meet, made a luncheon date, met in a restaurant in New Paltz and almost immediately ‘clicked’. A teacher of studio art, my intention was to sound him out on writing about art for our new journal, ART TIMES…he quickly told me that he would not be interested in being an artwriter. “I teach art”, he said, “but my passion is film!” Whoa! That word “passion” immediately had my attention — and we talked…and talked, neither of us barely touching our food. We got through the coffee, though, as he shared his thoughts and I was soon convinced that here was a man who not only knew film, but was intuitively knowledgeable about the artform. Wow! I needed a film writer and my new friend ‘Hank’ would fill the bill — and more that fill it I would soon find out. Hank not only knew and loved the craft of film in all of its machinations, he knew how to write! Hank had a Swiftian handle on satire and knew how to bait — and hook — his (our) readers, adding immensely to our reputation and presence on the artscene which had quickly spread from the Hudson Valley to the whole Northeast, with our largest distribution in Manhattan. I remember early on while attending some affair in NYC, a man coming up to me saying, “I love ART TIMES! The first page I always turn to is a Raleigh’s film essay!” I have to admit that I felt a little ‘ouch’ there —not mine? — but was proud and pleased that our journal was making an impact. And so on through the past 30 years or so. Hank’s passing is a loss — not only to Cornelia and I, but to his many avid readers as well. A painting of his that he gave me early on (Yes! He also knew the craft of painting!) hangs in my living room and each time I look at it…well, I’ll miss you, Hank. Your voice, your essays, your satire and your drawings. I’m sure you’ve also found your niche ‘up there’. Keep baiting those angels, man…heaven can use a few laughs.