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 Beatrice (Benoit) Ryan  (1913 - 1996)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/New York/California      Known for: religious illustration, miniature doll

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Beatrice (Benoit) Ryan
An example of work by Beatrice (Benoit) Ryan
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted July 2005, is by Frederick W. Ryan, Jr., son of the artist.

The career of Beatrice Ryan as an artist and illustrator began shortly after graduating, in 1935, from the Massachusetts School of Art where, as a design major, she had studied under Ernest L. Major, and the noted American sculptor, Cyrus Dallin. Although her career, which was to span fifty years, was primarily as an illustrator, Beatrice Ryan, then Beatrice Benoit, initially used her training in sculpture to design and produce miniature dolls. Her business, known as "The Small World", produced what she called Minikins, which were 1" to 1' scale models with bendable arms and legs. In boxed sets of five family member dolls, the Minikins were sold nationally in major toy and department stores, including FAO Schwarz , New York, and Marshall Field's, Chicago.

In 1937, Beatrice Benoit married the Boston portrait painter, Frederick Ryan, who had also studied at "Mass Art", as well as in Paris. By 1942, rubber shortages, due to the war effort, forced the doll business to close. Beatrice Ryan then turned to commercial illustration. Watercolor and/or pastel were her main media. In the mid 1940's, Beatrice Ryan designed greeting cards for "Forget-Me-Not" cards, a division of American Greetings, Cleveland, OH; and for Herbert Dubler, Inc., New York. The artwork was not always signed, but her depictions of curly haired children, with bright eyes and rosie cheeked faces, were distinctive.

By the late 1940's, Beatrice Ryan's work had extended to book illustration. Mostly for children, the books included: Hatie Hen's Red Umbrella, Whitman Publishing Co.,1949; Our Father, My Everyday Prayer, Ganley Co. Pub.,1949; and several religious books published by the C.R. Gibson Co., Norwalk, CT, including ; Prayers for Children, 1949; Life with Baby , 1949; All About Baby Jesus, 1949; Memories of Our Wedding, 1950; Baby Grows in Age and Grace, 1951; and When I Talk to God, 1955. Occasionally Beatrice and Frederick Ryan would work as a team , sometimes under the name "The Ryans", on joint illustration projects.

From c.1950 to 1958 Beatrice Ryan designed and illustrated greeting cards for the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, Philadelphia, PA, and Cardinal Greetings, Providence, RI. From 1958 until her full retirement in 1986, Beatrice Ryan's greeting card designs and verses, printed in many languages and sold worldwide, were exclusively reproduced by Reproducta Co., Inc., New York.



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