In 1949, Raymond and Vera Jonson moved to Albuquerque to live and work at the Jonson Gallery at the University of New Mexico, funded both from the sale of their house in Santa Fe and contributions from Cady Wells. The art gallery, designed by university architect John Gaw Meem, included living quarters and a painting studio. The gallery held annual shows of Raymond Jonson’s work, along with exhibitions of acclaimed abstract artists from New Mexico and around the world. Vera assisted Raymond in all aspects of gallery operations; his brother Arthur moved to Albuquerque upon her death in 1965 and was appointed curator.
The 1950s brought significant changes to Raymond Jonson’s artistic practice. He began using Liquitex acrylic polymer paint in 1957, switching to the medium exclusively in 1961. His legacy was secured in 1965 when the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, microfilmed his archives dating from 1910 to1964. The remaining archive, as well as over 600 paintings by Jonson, his students, and close associates, were transferred to the University of New Mexico Art Museum in 2008 when the Jonson Gallery ceased to be a functional art space.
Raymond Jonson died in Albuquerque on May 10, 1982.
Planning and fundraising for the Jonson Gallery at the University of New Mexico begins, including major gifts from Frank C. Rand Jr. and Adele Levis Rand. The gallery is proposed as a place to preserve Raymond Jonson’s legacy, create a space for the encouragement of emerging artists, and create the first art museum at the university and in Albuquerque.
Raymond and Vera Jonson move to Albuquerque, and Raymond begins teaching at the University of New Mexico full time. Construction begins on the Jonson Gallery.
Jonson Gallery opens to the public in January.
An exhibition of artwork by Raymond Jonson, Frederick O’Hara, and Howard Schleeter is held at the Albuquerque Modern Museum.
Raymond Jonson ends his official teaching position at the University of New Mexico.
Raymond Jonson begins the use of Liquitex brand of acrylic polymer paint. Elaine de Kooning comes to teach art at the University of New Mexico.
Vera Jonson dies in June.
Raymond Jonson paints Polymer No. 19, which turns out to be his final painting.
Raymond Jonson dies in Albuquerque on May 10.
The Jonson Gallery closes in October.