A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art

  • NEW BEDFORD, Massachusetts
  • /
  • March 03, 2020

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Albert Pinkham Ryder. With Sloping Mast and Dipping Prow, ca. 1880-1885. Oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.102.
Albert Pinkham Ryder. Landscape, undated. Oil on canvas. New Bedford Whaling Museum.

In July 2020, the New Bedford Whaling Museum (Mass.) will open a landmark art exhibition titled A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art. The show will bring together major masterworks across the career of New Bedford native, Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917), who achieved legendary status among artists during his lifetime. This is the first exhibition of Ryder’s work since Elizabeth Broun’s 1990 retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. (Watch a video trailer for the exhibition.)

One of the most intriguing things about Albert Pinkham Ryder is his authenticity, among the many factors that contributed to an achievement of cult status during his own lifetime. While we can find parallels and numerous connections with his peers on many fronts, probable inspiration from the sites of his youth and travels, some influence by those who preceded him and contemporaries, Ryder was a prophetic visionary, seeing and representing the world in a way that diverged from everyone else.

A Wild Note of Longing will highlight Ryder’s most iconic paintings, including 11 exceptional examples from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, such as the Flying DutchmanJonah, and Pegasus Departing. An additional 15 Ryders have also been secured from other institutions and private collectors, including the National Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Phillips Collection, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, and the Toledo Museum of Art.

Along with the exhibition, on view July 3 – November 1, 2020, the museum is releasing the first major publication in three decades on Ryder. The book, published by Rizzoli and distributed by Random House, will explore Ryder’s influence and inspiration to contemporary American artists. 

Albert Pinkham Ryder. Spirit of Autumn. Oil on panel, c. 1875. Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. Bequest of Frederick W. Schumacher, 1957.061.055

The exhibition's principal organizers include: Christina Connett Brophy, PhD, The Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum; Elizabeth Broun, PhD, Director Emerita of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; William C. Agee, Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor of Art History Emeritus, Hunter College, CUNY, after museum positions as curator and director.

By a deep flowing river
There’s a maiden pale,
And her ruby lips quiver
A song on the gale,
A wild note of longing
Entranced to hear,
A wild song of longing
Falls sad on the ears.

– Albert Pinkham Ryder

Tags: american art

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