Albert Pinkham Ryder is considered as one of the most imaginative and original romantic artists of his time, whose style featured moody and allegorical works that emphasize subtle variations of color and tone.
Born in Bedford, Massachusetts in 1847, Ryder grew up in what was then one of the busiest whaling ports in the United States – an influence which frequently showed in his works.
Despite having no formal training in the arts, Ryder started painting landscapes, until he moved with his family to New York at the age of 23, where he studied art at the National Academy of Design from 1874 to 1875.
Ryder’s early works during the 1870s were often tonalist landscapes, reminiscent of his growing years in the country around New Bedford. Because his style did not conform to the standards of the time, and his art was not well-received critically. However his early works already showed the dream-like quality which would be the hallmark of his paintings throughout his career.
Critics and art scholars consider the years from the 1880 to the 1890s to be Ryder’s most creative and artistically mature period. During this time, his paintings became more poetic and imaginative, and he often wrote poetry to accompany many of his works.
Ryder’s subjects during this period were often taken from the Bible, Classical Mythology, Shakespeare, and 19th century romantics such as Lord Byron, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Edgar Allan Poe.
Ryder passed away in 1917, leaving a body of work totaling to 165 paintings.