Albert Pinkham Ryder 1847-1917
Albert Pinkham Ryder Gallery
Albert Pinkham Ryder (March 19, 1847 ?C March 28, 1917) was an American painter best known for his poetic and moody allegorical works and seascapes, as well as his eccentric personality. While his art shared an emphasis on subtle variations of color with tonalist works of the time, it was unique for accentuating form in a way that some art historians regard as modernist.
After 1900, around the time of his father's death, Ryder's creativity fell dramatically. For the rest of his life he spent his artistic energy on occasionally re-working existing paintings, some of which lay scattered about his New York apartment. Visitors to Ryder's home were struck by his slovenly habits -- he never cleaned, and his floor was covered with trash, plates with old food, and a thick layer of dust, and he would have to clear space for visitors to stand or sit. He was shy and did not seek the company of others, but received company courteously and enjoyed telling stories or talking about his art. He gained a reputation as a loner, but he maintained social contacts, enjoyed writing letters, and continued to travel on occasion to visit friends.
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 Ryder himself had lost interest in actively exhibiting his work. In 1913, ten of his paintings were shown together in the historic Armory Show, an honor reflecting the admiration felt towards Ryder by modernist artists of the time.
By 1915 Ryder's health deteriorated, and he died at the home of a friend who was caring for him. A memorial exhibition of his work was held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1918. While the works of many of Ryder's contemporaries were partly or mostly forgotten through much of the 20th 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. Toilers of the Sea c 1880-5
oil on wood 29.2 x 39.5cm
(11 1/2 x 12in)
Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (mk63)