Forney Museum Home

Hours and Location
Featured Exhibits
Gift Shop
Big Boy Model
News Letter
Antique and Classic Cars for Sale
Meeting Rooms
Site Map










Forney Museum of Transportation

Artist and Woodcarver

Ralph J. Tice - artist and woodcarver
Photo by Chris Butler/The Coloradoan

Display of Artwork at the Forney Museum

Ralph J. Tice was born in 1902 in Ohio, the son of a Congregational minister who moved his family to Denver in 1918. Tice began to draw at a very young age. At the age of seven, a teacher saw his talent and secretly entered one of his drawings in the Iowa State Fair, surprising him with a first place ribbon.
Woodcarving of dogs and racoon
Woodcarving of guitar picker
Woodcarving of Covered Wagon with Oxen
After high school Tice wanted to become a veterinarian, but finding money for college was difficult. Tice attended the Denver Academy of Applied Arts and the Denver Art Institute for two years each. He studied under two professional artists, Robert Graham and Waldo Love who painted dioramas for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

His first career ambition was to become a cartoonist, so he studied under Jimmy Steele of the Denver Post. Teachers warned Tice that making a living as a cartoonist was difficult and encouraged him to learn graphic art. Tice took their advice. In his free time, he studied veterinarian textbooks and drew detailed sketches of animal anatomies.

From 1925 to 1944 Tice worked as a Commercial Artist in the Advertising Department of Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company. As display manager he was responsible for creating weekly window displays. It was during this time he carved a figure he could not achieve any other way. He fell in love with carving and wood sculpture.

For twenty-five years Tice worked as a Commercial Artist for the City and County of Denver designing signs for traffic engineers, for political campaigns, and to publicize proposed amendments.

Tice was a lifetime member of Pictorial Painters of America and a senior member of the Denver Artists Guild. He taught woodcarving at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School and at his home studio. He specialized in western and animal art and carved mainly using hardwoods.

Tice retired in 1968 and moved to Fort Collins where he continued to produce works of art with the assistance of his wife Bessie. Tice won numerous awards throughout his career for both his woodcarvings and oil paintings.

Woodcarving of Longhorn Steer