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 Chauncey Foster Ryder  (1868 - 1949)

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Lived/Active: New York/New Hampshire      Known for: sea-landscape and portrait painting, lithography

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Ad Code: 3
Chauncey Foster Ryder
from Auction House Records.
That Which the Sea Gives Up
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter noted for his landscapes that reflected both Impressionism and Tonalism, Chauncey Ryder was also one of the more successful painters associated with exhibitions at the Macbeth Gallery in New York City.  His paintings became popular with collectors "who were drawn to paintings that inspired a reflective state of mind and who admired Ryder's ability to achieve 'the right proportion between the real and the unreal, between detail and vagueness.' " (Lowrey)

He grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, and in his 20s, moved to Chicago where he was a student at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the art school, Smith's Art Academy.  He later was a teacher there.  In 1901, Chauncey Ryder enrolled in the Academie Julian in Paris where he studied with Raphael Collin and Jean Paul Laurens.  He exhibited genre scenes in the Paris Salon, 1903-1906, and also painted at the port town of Etaples, France with other American artists including Max Bohm and Roy Brown.

In 1907, he returned to America, settling in New York City, and three-years later became one of the Macbeth Gallery artists.   He also purchased a house in Wilton, New Hampshire and began a routine of spending seven months of each year there, April to November, and the remaining months in New York.

In 1910 and 1911, he painted and exhibited at Old Lyme, Connecticut, and did a panel, Winter Landscape, for the home of Florence Griswold, a key person in that community.  In 1920, he was named Academician by the National Academy of New York.  He exhibited for over 30 years with the American Watercolor Society.

Sources include:
Carol Lowrey, 'Chauncey Foster Ryder', The Poetic Vision: American Tonalism, p. 164 (Spanierman Galleries, LLC)

Ronald Pisano, American Art & Antiques, 10/1978, "Chauncey Foster Ryder Peace and Plenty."

Biography from Childs Gallery:
Chauncey Foster Ryder was born in Danbury, Connecticut in 1868. He spent much of his youth in New Haven, Connecticut, where he began to pursue an interest in painting between the ages of ten and twelve.  In his early twenties he moved to Chicago for artistic instruction, studying first at the Art Institute and then at Smith’s Academy, where he became an instructor after his first year as a student.  In 1891 he married Mary Dole Keith, and in 1901 they sold their belongings and moved to France so that he could study art in Paris.

He first enrolled in the Academie Julien, under Jean Paul Laurens and Raphael Colin; after two years there, he began to exhibit works at the annual Paris Salon, and showed works regularly there from 1903-1909.  At this time he also developed a friendship with American artist Max Bohm, who profoundly influenced his style with his dramatic and moody compositions.  In 1907 Ryder won an honorable mention for Ce Que Rende La Mer (That Which the Sea Gives Up), the figurative style of which is very different from Ryder’s characteristic landscapes, which even contemporaries recognized to be his usual style.

1907 was also an important year for Ryder when the prominent New York art dealer, William Macbeth, began to represent him, selling the first of Ryder’s works after only two months of partnership.  This was a lifelong business relationship, and Macbeth was responsible for the marketing of Ryder’s painting style, as well as his works, hanging, framing, and even titling the production that poured from Ryder's studio. That fall Ryder moved to New York City and began to show his work both in Paris and in New York, and finally in 1909 he opened a studio in New York.

In 1910 Ryder began to travel through New England, the landscape of which provided much of the subject matter for his work. He and his wife bought “a little house and three acres in Wilton, New Hampshire,” and for the rest of their lives, they split their time between New York City in the winter months and New Hampshire in the spring and summer.

From their home in Wilton they traveled throughout New England, and continued to do so until old age.  From this point until the end of his life, Ryder’s works gained great popularity due to his consistently recognizable style, what is called his “Ryder green…that was, in part, responsible for the pleasing quality and unique character of his work,”.  Shortly after the purchase of the New Hampshire property, Ryder began to undertake lithographs, in addition to the drypoints, etchings, drawings, and watercolors he already produced, at the behest of Bolton Brown, one of the premier lithographers of his time.  These lithographs were shown alongside his paintings at Macbeth’s gallery in New York.

Ryder died in 1949 in Wilton, New Hampshire.  His work is known today primarily through his oil painting, and it was known and recognized at the time of his death for its “economy of line” (About the Artist).  In addition, however, “the unusual and vigorous quality to his prints” (Chicago Society of Etchers) was also noted, and the way his landscapes engaged the aesthetic of the abstract without presenting abstract subject matter, in a time when the general public was unsure about how to approach truly abstract art.

The bareness of his drypoints, in particular, is stunning; there is a true feeling of his “unfailingly kind and gentle” (Memories of Chancey and Mary Ryder), simple personality, and a deep sense of “the poetic aspect of nature” (Peace and Plenty, 80) conveyed by his works.

“I paint by feeling,” (Peace and Plenty, 78) Ryder once said—and it is this feeling that is given to the viewers when they see his prints and paintings. With the exhibition and cataloguing of his graphic works numbering more than two hundred drypoints and lithographs in —half a century after his death— we hope that the subtle, stark power of his landscape scenes will be given new relevance, and that Ryder’s “wealth…[of] peace of mind” (Memories of Chauncey and Mary Ryder) will give us some of our own.

Written and submitted by Diana Limbach and D. Roger Howlett, 2005

(Of particular interest to your audience is the appearance of the new, free, Chauncey Ryder print raisonné at D. Roger Howlett, President, Childs Gallery, Boston)


About the Artist, publication unknown, from the artist's estate.
Swann, James. Text Accompaniment to "Road to Bristol." Chicago Society of Etchers,

Pisano, Ronald G., "Chauncey Foster Ryder: Peace and Plenty", Art and Antiques,
(September-October 1978), pp. 76-83.

Abbot, Elinor. "Memories of Chauncey and Mary Ryder," unpublished, from the artist's

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
Chauncey F. Ryder (1868-1949) is an early 20th-century artist who established his own unique style of post impressionism.  He was a painter, etcher, lithographer and illustrator who had studios in New Haven, CT, Chicago, New York City and Wilton, NH.

He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (c. 1891); Smith’s Art Academy; Academie Julian, Paris with Jean Paul Laurens (1901) and with Raphael Collins in Paris.

Ryder was an Associate (1915) and an Academician (1920) of the National Academy and was an active member of the Salmagundi Club; National Arts Club; Lotos Club; Allied Artists of America; American Water Color Society; Chicago Society of Etchers and the New York Water Color Club.

His first major award came in 1907 at the Paris Salon and during his career he won gold medals at the National Academy, American Water Color Society, the National Arts Club; the New York Water Color Society, the Baltimore Watercolor Society and many more. Ryder painted at Monhegan Island, Paris, Wilton (NH), the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts, and he painted gigantic, dynamic figural scenes of World War I throughout Europe.

Ryder is represented in the permanent collections of over 50 museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Baltimore Museum of Art; Corcoran Gallery of Art; National Portrait Gallery; National Academy of Design; Carnegie Art Institute; Museum of Modern Art and more.

In 1978 Pierce Galleries, Inc. of Hingham, MA became the sole representatives for Ryder's daughter, and in 1979 they publised the brochure "Chauncey F. Ryder, N.A." that accompanied a retrospective exhibition.  Ryder is primarily known for his sparsely painted expansive landscape in which few figures appear.  For Ryder, nature reigned supreme.

Patricia Jobe Pierce

Biography from Spanierman Gallery:
American Tonalist landscape painter, Chauncey Foster Ryder, was born in Danbury, Connecticut in 1868.  In 1891, he moved to Chicago and began his artistic training at the Art Institute and at Smith's Art Academy.

After moving to Paris in 1901, Ryder enrolled at the Académie Julian, where he studied under Jean-Paul Laurens and Raphael Collin.  He showed at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1903.  During the four years that followed, he exhibited annually at the Salon.  Although Ryder maintained a studio in Paris until 1910, he returned to America in 1907 and settled in New York, where he began to show at Macbeth Galleries.

Like many of his contemporaries, Ryder traveled during the summer months.  Among his favorite haunts was the artists’ colony of Old Lyme, Connecticut, where he often stayed at the home of Miss Florence Griswold, a gathering place for artists working in the area.  Ryder exhibited with the Lyme artists in 1910 and 1911 and was given the honor of painting one of the panels in the Griswold house dining room.  During a stay in Old Lyme, he sold a painting to Mrs. Woodrow Wilson.  In 1910, he established a home and studio in Wilton, New Hampshire, where he spent summers for the rest of his life.  Wilton was also a base for Ryder to travel to sites in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire in search of painting subjects.

Working in the poetic vein of Tonalists such as Henry Ward Ranger and Birge Harrison, Ryder developed a style consisting of soft, blended tones, rich layered pigments, and vigorous, energetic brushwork.  A contemporary art critic wrote:

"Ryder paints with a freedom and a facility which is not deterred by quibbling details. He is always lyrical and poetic in his approach, and often achieved a certain luminous quality. . . transforming a whole scene into something of other-worldly loveliness." [1]

Although best known for his oil paintings, Ryder was a proficient draftsman, printmaker, and watercolorist.  He received numerous awards and prizes including a silver medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in1915, the National Academy of Design prize in 1934, and a gold medal at the Paris International Exhibition in 1937. He was named full academician of the National Academy of Design in 1920. 

His works are represented in many important private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.

Lisa N. Peters

1. Florence Davies, Detroit News, quoted in Chauncey F. Ryder, N.A., 1868-1949, exh. cat. (Hingham, Mass.: Pierce Galleries), p. [3].

© The essay herein is the property of Spanierman Gallery, LLC and is copyrighted by Spanierman Gallery, LLC, and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from Spanierman Gallery, LLC, nor shown or communicated to anyone without due credit being given to Spanierman Gallery, LLC.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Chauncey Ryder is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Old Lyme Colony Painters
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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