Anne Ryan


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Collage artist, painter, and printmaker. Also a writer. Known principally for small collages, Ryan found inspiration in the work of the German artist Kurt Schwitters, whose work she first encountered in 1948. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, Ryan enrolled at the College of St. Elizabeth in nearby Morristown but left during her junior year to marry William J. McFadden. She initially directed her creativity toward fiction and poetry. After her marriage ended in the 1920s, she worked for two years in Europe as a freelance writer. During this time, she lived primarily on the island of Majorca but also traveled to Paris and other cities. Upon her return in 1933 she settled permanently in Greenwich Village. With the encouragement of artist friends who shortly became known as abstract expressionists, in the late 1930s Ryan began to paint. After turning to printmaking in 1941 at Atelier 17, she soon specialized in color wood engravings. The intimate collages she produced during her last six years combine a fine sense of unregimented abstract design with colors, textures, and emotional associations she found in papers and fabrics. Collage, 256 (Museum of Modern Art, 1949) combines linear elements of string with shapes from cloth and papers, both colored and printed. She suffered a stroke while working in her studio and died less than a month later at a son's home in Morristown. Ryan brought out a book of poetry, Lost Hills, in 1925 and continued to publish short fiction throughout her life.

Subjects: Art.

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