Dick LaBonté was born in 1921 at Battle Creek, Michigan and grew up in Wilmette, Illinois. His writing and artistic skills were developed at New Trier High School, the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (where he studied cartooning), and Colgate University. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve as commanding officer of a submarine chaser in the South Pacific.
Mr. LaBonté's postwar business career included twenty-eight years in managerial positions at McGraw-Hill Publishing Company in New York, among them Director of Sales Promotion and Advertising for "Business Week" magazine.
Seeking a different outlet for his creative skills, he took early retirement in his fifties and began a second career as a painter. Using a neo-primitive style, he became well-known for his nostalgic, period paintings of the New Jersey Shore, where he and his family had spent many years as summer, then year-'round, residents.
Dick LaBonté's paintings have been reproduced in limited editions and are widely distributed. His best-known and most popular work is a fantasy titled, "Cocktails At The White House," in which all of the Presidents and First Ladies are gathered at a party on the White House lawn and balconies. A print of this painting was presented to President and Mrs. Clinton by his college classmates in 1993 and hung in the private quarters of the executive mansion.
"At the Shore with Dick LaBonté," his limited edition collection of thirty-two paintings, was self-published in 1993. He is also author of "In Old Bay Head" (1986), a photographic history of the town, and co-author of "100 Years at the Head of the Bay" (1988), a history of the Bay Head Yacht Club, where he served as a trustee in the 1980s. The artist also served two terms as a councilman in Bay Head. He is a member of the Ocean County Artists Guild and had a one-man show there in 1990. In 1999 and 2001, twenty-one of his paintings appeared in the books "To The Shore Once More, Volumes I & II" (Jersey Shore Publications), the collections of essays and poems by Frank Finale and paintings by leading artists of the Jersey Shore.
Dick LaBonté's paintings and prints are sold in galleries and shops along the eastern seaboard from Virginia to Cape Cod. The artist lives in Bay Head, New Jersey with his wife of fifty-nine years, Katie.
The Anchor & Palette Art Gallery in Bay Head, New Jersey represents his work and is owned by his daughter, Anne LaBonte Neff. A website of his work is located at www.anchorandpalette.com.
Click below for information on
Jersey Shore Publication's coffee table art book
of Dick LaBonté’s work!