Ralph Mosher Pearson Biography

Ralph Mosher Pearson




Ralph Mosher Pearson, painter, printmaker, entrepreneur, educator, art critic, and author, was born in Angus, Iowa on May 27, 1883. Self-motivated and extremely focused on whatever he set his mind to, Pearson morphed from a newspaper boy into the owner of a newsstand, which he expanded into ownership of a handful of stationery stores and other newsstands. His business interests consumed so much of his time that he was only able to attend night and Saturday classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At the school he studied with C. F. Browne and John Vanderpoel.

Pearson was a founding member of the “Needle Club” which became the Chicago Society of Etchers and his early representational etchings were profoundly influenced by the work of Joseph Pennell. After viewing the Armory Show of 1913 at the Art Institute of Chicago, Pearson was intrigued by the modernist approach to imagery of many European artists. He moved to New York and he stated that he found “the first school of modern art in this country, taught by Hugo Robus,” and where he was to “inaugurate a painful unlearning and relearning process of some eight years' duration which was a cheap enough price to pay for a basic reorientation.

In 1919, Pearson moved to New Mexico and established his home and studio in the foothills of the Taos mountains. Forever the entrepreneur, he established a greeting card company that produced cards featuring his etchings. In 1923, he moved to California but, by 1928, he had returned to New York where he taught for ten years at the New School for Social Research.

He was a member of and exhibited with Chicago Society of Etchers, the Art Students League of Chicago, the New York Society of Etchers, the California Art Club, the California Society of Etchers, and the Brooklyn Society of Etchers. His work is represented in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Indianapolis Museum at Newfields, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Ralph M. Pearson died in South Nyack, New York on April 27, 1958.

source: In Praise of Prints