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 Margery Austen Ryerson  (1886 - 1989)

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Lived/Active: New York/New Jersey      Known for: portrait and child genre painting, etching

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Margery Austen Ryerson
An example of work by Margery Austen Ryerson
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Painter and print maker Margery Austen Ryerson was born in Morristown, New Jersey in 1886, and not only established a reputation as an artist but as an editor of one of the better-known books in American art, "The Art Spirit", which is a compilation of Ryerson's notes from the painting classroom of Robert Henri. She proposed the idea to Henri, and they worked together on the editing and completed the project for publication in 1923. One of the reasons the book was an attention getter was Henri's focus on encouraging artists to be free and unique in their expression, which in its era was a startling assertion. According to art historian Charlotte Rubinstein, "The Art Spirit ha become a classic, one of the most influenctial art books ever written in the United States." (167)

Ryerson's two most influential painting teachers were Robert Henri and Charles W. Hawthorne, and for Hawthorne, she was editor of his book, "Hawthorne on Painting", similar in format to "The Art Spirit".

Overall she specialized in paintings, etchings and lithographs of children. As a printmaker, she won the Emil Fuchs Prize in 1924 from the Brooklyn Society of Etchers. Her painting "Boy with Rabbit," 1960, in the collection of the New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, explores the rich color contrasts she responded to in a black child wearing a red pull-over sweater holding a white rabbit, his head against a pale rectangular chair-back, all contrasted against a strongly blue sky.

Ryerson exhibited in Europe and in the United States at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts; Grand Central Art Galleries, New York City, in 1942; and the Weyhe Gallery in New York City in 1973.

She held memberships in the Provincetown Art Association, Massachusetts; California Printmakers; Society of American Etchers; Washington (D.C.) Watercolor Club; and Allied Artists of America, New York City.

The work of Margery Ryerson is in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, New Jersey; Cleveland Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; New York Public Library; Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy; and Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France.

Margery Austen Ryerson died in 1989.

Jules and Nancy Heller, "North American Women Artists of the 20th Century"
Charlotte Rubinstein, "American Women Artists"

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