Anne Ryan Biography

Anne Ryan





Anne Ryan, author, poet, painter and printmaker, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on 20 July 1889 to wealthy Irish parents. She attended a Catholic convent school and then studied literature at St. Elizabeth’s College in Convent Station, New Jersey. She married and raised her family yet found time for her writing and her book of poetry, Lost Hills, was published in 1925.

In 1931, Ryan moved to Majorca for four years but returned to New York due to the political unrest in Spain and settled in Greenwich Village. She had a been a poet and writer for her first forty-seven years and with the encouragement of Hans Hoffman began painting in 1938. When Stanley William Hayter opened his Atelier 17 in New York in 1941, Ryan joined the studio and learned the techniques of intaglio. Louis Schanker taught her the techniques of block printing and she joined him in VAN-GUARD, a group of experimental printmakers. 

Kraushaar Galleries in New York mounted Color Wood Block Prints by Anne Ryan in December 1957. The accompanying catalogue described her method of working in woodblock as "a simple one.” Her designs were cut with small chisels and textures were hammered into the block by various means. Most of her woodcuts were from single blocks and she never used more than three. Her woodcuts were only produced between 1945 and 1949 and then she turned to creating a large body of miniature collages. The critic Donald Windham said this of her work: All her life she was capable of being excited to work by the art of others; at the same time, her character was so rich that what she did immediately became her own.

Ryan’s work was included in six of the Brooklyn Museum Print Annuals, they were featured at the Betty Parsons Gallery, and were included in the legendary 9th Street Exhibition and the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition American Painting and Sculpture in 1951.

The work of Anne Ryan is represented in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the British Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the Kemper Museum of Art, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; and the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Anne Ryan died in Morristown, New Jersey on 17 April 1954.