Born in Kentucky, Ralph Du Casse did not arrive in the Bay Area until the mid-1940s, when he came to study at the University of California, Berkeley. Studying under Hans Hoffman, he did graduate work there in 1948, and traveled back and forth between the east and west for several more years. Though he continued painting, Du Casse also was active as an educator. He has taught at UC Berkeley, California College of the Arts and Crafts, California School of Fine Arts and was chairman of the art department at Mills College in Oakland through the 1970s.
Like Hassel Smith, Du Casse represented an older generation of painters during the “6” Gallery years, but the artist himself- like many others- remembers that age distinctions were relatively insignificant in the atmosphere of excitement and enthusiasm in which the gallery functioned.
As did other Beat artists, Du Casse employed geometry with a painterly, expressionist aspect. Later, Du Casse became interested in simple, lightly applied abstract forms, which he called “spiritual forms,” which often demonstrated ties to Oriental imagery or thought. During the 1950s, he was experimenting with many modern styles, from loose, gestural abstraction to dynamic, geometrical Cubism.