Ralph Pearson was an accomplished etcher at a time when the art was just emerging as a popular medium in the United States.
Born in Angus, Iowa, Pearson studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under John Vanderpoel. He lived in New York and California, and was working in northern New Mexico in the early 1920s.
Pearson’s prints show a wide variety of subjects including landscapes, industrial scenes, Indian Pueblos, and portraits. The images are reveal a sophisticated design sense, clearly employing compositional strategies of artists such as Arthur Wesley Dow which emphasized the inter-relationship of line, mass, and value in two dimensions.
Pearson was a member of the Chicago Society of Etchers, the New York Society of Etchers, California Art Club, California Society of Etchers and the Brooklyn Society of Etchers. He exhibited widely and won numerous awards including a medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.