ANNE RYAN (1889 – 1954) belonged to the early generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists and is today considered perhaps the premier American collagist of the 20th century. Her abstract collages, comprised of paper and sometimes fabric and found materials, tend to fall somewhere in a spectrum between a so-called painterly or “expressionist” type and a more cold, geometric so-called “classical” style. These small but potent abstract pictures have been hailed as “exquisite” (Holland Cotter) for their intimate and formal elements and masterful command of abstraction.
RYAN was born in Hoboken, NJ, and educated in a convent school, which she left to marry a lawyer with whom she had three children. RYAN did not begin her artistic career until the second half of her life, initially pursuing writing as her first creative foray. After publishing a volume of poems in 1925 and a novel in 1926, RYAN moved to Majorca in 1931; she returned to New York in 1933. It was in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood where RYAN encountered fellow writers, artists, and intellectuals, including Hans Hofmann, who encouraged her to begin painting. She joined the printmaking workshop of Stanley William Hayter, Atelier XVII, in 1941 and had a solo exhibition of her paintings at the Pinacotheca that same year. She continued to make and exhibit her paintings until, during a visit to the Rose Fried Gallery in 1948, RYAN encountered the collages of Kurt Schwitters. Upon seeing these works, she immediately began to make abstract collages. By the early 1950s she was exhibiting at the celebrated Betty Parsons Gallery and her work was included in the Museum of Modern Art “American Painting and Sculpture” in 1951. All her collages were created during the period of six years preceding her death in 1954 at age 65. Her work has been exhibited at Betty Parsons Gallery, Kraushaar Galleries, Marlborough Gallery, and Washburn Gallery, and in museums including the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery, among others.
The exhibition will consist of twenty collages dating from the 1948 through 1954.