Ted Hartley took up painting after his wife, Dina Merrill fell sick. Looking for ways to keep her active emotionally and mentally, he initiated twice a week art classes in their home, inviting Dina’s friends to join. Joining the group, Hartley gained his own appreciation of art and his painting progressed from representational art into more daring subjective expressionism.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Ted Hartley faced the early loss of his father, an executive at AT&T. His mother, a dedicated teacher, subsequently raised Ted and his sister by herself, devising special courses for public schools. Hartley's education spanned prestigious institutions, including Annapolis, Georgetown University, and Harvard Business School. His athletic prowess was evident as a U.S. Olympic wrestling finalist and as Head of the International Relations section during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
His military service was distinguished; as a Navy-carrier-based jet fighter pilot, Hartley embarked on assignments globally, including a period as a White House aide during the Kennedy-Eisenhower era. An aircraft accident at 28 led to his disability retirement as a Lieutenant Commander. Transitioning to civilian life, Hartley navigated through various executive roles, ultimately becoming the Executive Vice President of First Western Financial Corporation.
When the company was acquired by a larger bank, Hartley, then in Los Angeles for a job interview, was serendipitously cast in the television series "Peyton Place" as the Reverend Jerry Bedford. This foray into acting opened doors to co-star roles with legends like Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant, Dean Martin, and Robert Redford, and he later starred in the television series "Chopper One" on ABC.
Hartley also explored directing television commercials and producing films, leading to a significant opportunity with RKO Pictures Corporation. As CEO, he produced a dozen films and several television movies, broadening RKO's scope into Broadway productions. His industry stature is recognized as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and as a Tony voter.
In his philanthropic ventures, Hartley has made substantial impacts as the former Chairman of ORBIS International and as a founding director of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute. He continues to serve on the board of the Village Preservation Society of East Hampton.
Art became a sanctuary for Hartley, especially as he cared for his late wife, actress Dina Merrill, during her health decline. He initiated art classes in their home, engaging Merrill and her friends in a creative and emotional outlet. These classes inspired his own passion for painting, which has now grown into a significant and fulfilling part of his life. Hartley's legacy extends to his family, with a son and two grandsons carrying forward his diverse lineage of achievements and contributions.
His featured Ukraine Series begins with “Kyiv: Pro Patria,” a fiery glow of contrasting hues celebrating the success of the Ukrainians in repulsing the Russian attack on their capital. On loan for the show, “Kyiv: Pro Patria” was purchased earlier this year by an anonymous “friend of the Ukraine patriots,” with proceeds benefiting the Red Cross in Ukraine and two other Ukraine charities. Two companion pieces to the series will debut at the Sag Harbor exhibition. “Retreat from Snake Island,” a painting inspired by the refusal of three Ukrainian lightkeepers to surrender the island to the Russian fleet, and “Red Flight from Izium,” which depicts the Ukrainians striking back at Izium seven months into the stalled Russian invasion, a battle still in process in the drive to push the invaders off Ukrainian land.