Painter & Collector Ralph Vuolo
of Greenwich, CT: A Biography
In spite of being a self-proclaimed traditionalist, Ralph Vuolo enjoyed pairing the old with the new. He felt that there was an air of romance in juxtaposing fine antiques, adorned with ornate elements, alongside pieces of modern art with their typically clean lines. His advice was that if you buy things you love, your space will be a delight each time you enter. Ralph specialized in 18th and 19th century English and French antiques and had ties to over a hundred antiques dealers worldwide. He was usually found donning a hat and scarf, and was frequently called upon to contribute to the set designs of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Ugly Betty and Boardwalk.
Although he lived in Greenwich, Connecticut and New York City, Ralph was truly a man of the world. He was an avid traveler and collected many paintings and objets d’art from around the world, from Paris and Rome to far-flung locales like Guangzhou, and everywhere in between. There, he would unearth treasures at local antique centers, flea markets and estate sales. He once said, “Through travel, I’m always inspired in new ways by something old – or even something ancient!”
Ralph was passionate about the preservation of local architectural history, which led to him co-founding the Greenwich Neighborhood Preservation Association, establishing an historic district around a watermill in the village of Glenville, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. He was a member of Greenwich Green and Clean, whose goal was to plant new trees and save existing ones.
The use of color was very important for Ralph and he was a master of combining colors, patterns and prints, to make a room come to life in his very unique way. He said that one should always use a pop of color, no matter how small, and carry it throughout the home, because it tells a story which reflects one’s life experiences.
Ralphie, which is what he was affectionately called by many, will always be remembered by his clients when they enter their graceful homes, by his neighbors who continue to enjoy the historic buildings that he helped the town of Greenwich to retain, and unknowingly by many others, who will breathe the fresh air from all the trees that he lovingly planted and conserved.