Ray Prohaska 1901 - 1981 American, born former Yugoslavia, now Montenegro Painters
In the 1930s a New York based social group known as The Artists and Writers Club held quarterly meetings at various resorts in Florida and on the East End. In the winter they went to Palm Beach, and in spring, summer and fall they gathered on the East End, either at Montauk Manor, or in Southampton at The Mansard or Burnett’s. Ray Prohaska, a member, participated, along with fellow illustrators Al Dorn, McClelland Barclay, Russell Patterson, and Neysa McMein; sports writers Grantland Rice and Heywood Hale Broun, cartoonists Rube Goldberg and Otto Soglow; and magazine fiction writers such as Arthur Train and Clarence Buddington Kelland. From 1940 to 1943 Ray and his wife Carolyn Pierson, (a descendant of Henry Pierson, the first Town Clerk of Southampton and Abraham Pierson, the first rector at Yale and of various East End hamlets) rented a summer home in East Hampton in order to be near their friends Jimmy and May Wilson Preston. In 1944 the couple bought a small house on Hand Lane in Amagansett, and moved in with their son Tony, born in 1942 in New York. Two years later, they moved to a larger house on Main Street, which, being the former home of Hilton Leech’s Amagansett Art School, came complete with a large studio and grand skylight. Ray occupied the studio in the summers of ’45 and ’46 but waited until Peggy Guggenheim's lease of the living area expired before taking full possession of the house. Peggy Guggenheim used the space to house her close expatriate European artist friends. The group changed over time as visitors such as Henry Miller and Max Ernst came and went, but the mainstays were Laurence Vail, Jean Helion and Lionel Abel. In September 1946, just after moving to the Main Street house, their second child, Elena was born at Southampton Hospital delivered by the area's country GP, Dr. Paul Nugent. Ray and the family spent the years from 1945 to 1965 in the Main Street house, doing illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, Redbook, Good Housekeeping and other magazines, using local residents as models, including several he inherited from Mac Barclay, and painting semi-abstract scenes of fishermen and abstract paintings. After spending a decade as Artist-in-Residence at two universities in the South, five years at Washington and Lee and five years at Wake Forest, returning in summer to a converted barn residence in Bridgehampton, they built a small contemporary saltbox house in the woods in The Springs, and Ray died there in 1981. Carolyn died in New York City in 1994.