A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art

This long-overdue new look at the life and work of Albert Pinkham Ryder explores the artist's deeply visionary paintings and the powerful and enduring paths he forged for generations of American modernists.

Few American artists have captured painters' imaginations with the gripping force of Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917). The brooding spirituality of his works, coupled with formal innovation decades ahead of its time, have long made Ryder a favorite of trailblazers like Jackson Pollock, Marsden Hartley, and Robert Rauschenberg. And yet, the artist's biography and practices remain elusive. A Wild Note of Longing--whose title comes from a Ryder poem--takes up the challenge, bringing a new generation of scholarship to the most comprehensive collection of Ryder masterworks assembled to date.
Ryder is considered a seminal artist for both the late nineteenth-century Gilded Age and for the emerging modernism of the early twentieth century. This monumental new book presents multiple voices from leaders in the field on the continuing and ever evolving relevance of Albert Pinkham Ryder in modern art. In addition to a general overview of the artist's career, essays also cover Ryder within the context of his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Ryder's influence and context within modernism.

About The Author

Christina Connett Brophy is The Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Massachusetts. Elizabeth Broun was director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery from 1989 to 2016; she is the Visual Arts Advisor to the Kennedy Center, and a member of the boards of the Henry Luce Foundation and the Olana Partnership. William C. Agee is Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor Emeritus of Art History, Hunter College, New York, and is former director of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Pasadena Art Museum.

  • Publish Date: June 30, 2020
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Art - Individual Artists - Monographs
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Electa
  • Trim Size: 9 x 11
  • Pages: 248
  • US Price: $65.00
  • CDN Price: $85.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-6904-6


"With color illustrations as well as insightful essays by Christina Connett Brophy, Elizabeth Broun, and William C. Agee that analyze, respectively, Ryder’s historical context, his elusive painterly ideas, and his outsize influence on generations of artists, A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Artoffers us the exceedingly welcome chance to reflect on this austere, stirring, and wholeheartedly strange painter."  —THE NEW CRITERION

"The exhibition catalogue … is a substantial publication. High-quality images alternate with essays by the three curators. While Brophy’s text focuses on the historical and artistic context of New Bedford, Broun gives an analysis of Ryder’s work and the effect of his paintings on viewers. As she writes, Ryder’s artworks 'reveal their allure slowly over time, after repeated looking,' echoing the artist’s own slow labor. Agee’s essay (like his curation) focuses on Ryder’s legacy: 'His influence through generations of artists has often been quiet, even invisible, like an underground stream, but nevertheless one that flows steadily.' Agee explains that Ryder’s paintings have attracted artists by giving them 'permission to feel again, to break free of the chains of theory.' This license for freedom and individuality was also felt by painter Peter Shear, who describes Ryder’s work as a 'fortunate place to get lost at a moment when, like all young artists, I was searching for the permission to be myself.'" —THE BROOKLYN RAIL

Author Bookshelf: William C. Agee