Albert Pinkham Ryder Biography | Oil Paintings

3-19-1847 New Bedford, Massachusetts USA - 3-28-1917 New York, NY USA

Ryder, Albert Pinkham

Albert Pinkham Ryder first art classes in New York in 1868 with the artist William Marshall, a former student of the French painter Thomas Couture. From 1870 to 1875, Ryder studied art at the National Academy of Design, where in 1873 he met the artist Julian Alden Weir who became his lifelong friend and exhibited his first painting at the Academy. In 1882, Albert Pinkham Ryder made the first of three trips to Europe throughout his life, where his studying of the paintings of the French Barbizon School and the Dutch Hague School would have a significant impact on his work.

During the 1880s, Ryder exhibited frequently and his work was well-received by critics, characterized by an appealing naturalism of bright, smoothly finished pastoral or animal themes. His art became more poetic and imaginative, and Ryder wrote poetry to accompany many of his works. But during the 1900s, after his father's death, Albert Pinkham Ryder's painted increasingly somber moods expressed in both color and style, his creativity fell dramatically, he produced little and for the rest of his life, he spent his artistic energy occasionally re-working existing paintings, some of which lay scattered about his New York attic apartment. Albert Pinkham Ryder completed fewer than two hundred paintings, nearly all of which were created before 1900. He rarely signed and never dated his paintings.

While Ryder's creativity fell after the turn of the century, his fame grew. Important collectors of American art sought Ryder paintings for their holdings and often lent choice examples for national art exhibitions, as Albert Pinkham Ryder himself had lost interest in actively exhibiting his work. In 1913, at the historic Armory Show, ten of his paintings were exhibited, an honor reflecting the admiration felt towards Ryder by modernist artists of the time who saw his work as a harbinger of American modernist art.

While the works of many of Ryder's contemporaries were partly or mostly forgotten through much of the twentieth century, Ryder's artistic reputation has remained largely intact owing to his unique and forward-looking style. Ryder was, along with Thomas Hart Benton, David Siqueiros, and Pablo Picasso, an important influence on Jackson Pollock's paintings.

Albert Pinkham Ryder used his paints liberally and without concern, some of his paintings he worked on for ten years or more. His paintings were thick and were built up of layers of paint and varnish, often painting into wet varnish, or applying a layer of fast-drying paint over a layer of slow-drying paint. A normally painted oil painting takes months for the oil paints to completely dry, even if it is dry to the touch, it is not dry underneath. There are paintings in the Louvre that are still drying. The result of Ryder's painting method is that paintings remain unstable and become much darker over time, they crack easily, do not fully dry even after decades, and sometimes completely disintegrate. Many of his paintings were damaged and he tried to restore them in his later years, but it was no use.

In the book, Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams, the authors write, "There are more fake Ryders than there are forgeries of any other American artist except his contemporary Ralph Blakelock." Part of the reason is that his style is easily copied and forgers can paint it on antique canvas and bake it to add cracks to give it age.

Art Movement: Tonalism, Symbolism.
Artists Influencing Albert Pinkham Ryder: William Edgar Marshall, Robert Loftin Newman.
He Traveled To France, Netherlands.
Painters Albert Pinkham Ryder Influenced: Jackson Pollock.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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