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Robert Ryman

New Paintings

About Robert Ryman

Robert Ryman (b. 1930, Nashville, TN; d. 2019, New York) attended the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute and the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville. After enlisting in the United States Army (1950–52), he moved to New York to play jazz. In 1953 he took a temporary job—where he would ultimately work for seven years—as a guard at The Museum of Modern Art. Soon after, he would decide to devote his career towards painting. For over five decades, Robert Ryman engaged in an ongoing experiment with painting. He sought to modify his approach, resisted the comfort of tendency, and maintained the freshness of uncharted territory. From each experience Ryman gleaned the variables for a revised proposition and the impetus to propel him towards his next move. Since Ryman’s first solo exhibition in 1967, his work has been the subject of over 100 solo exhibitions in 12 countries.

Press Release

  • Robert Ryman: New Paintings
    PaceWildenstein is pleased to present new paintings (2001-2002) by Robert Ryman on view from October 11 through November 9, 2002 at 534 West 25th Street, New York City. The exhibition will feature more than twenty oil paintings, of various scales, on canvas and linen. Ryman’s new work continues his longtime use of a range of white pigments, and many of the new paintings include an infusion of earthy color including various greens, umber and red. A full color catalogue with an introductory essay by Yve-Alain Bois, the Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. Professor of Modern Art and Chair of the History of Art and Architecture Department at Harvard University, will accompany the exhibition. For Ryman, the expression and emphasis of the materiality of painting have always been of primary importance. Ryman’s manipulation of painting’s elements—the paint itself, its application, and its support—in addition to his attention to the conditions of a painting’s installation have reflected those concerns. Yve-Alain Bois states: “Support, color, brushstrokes: these constitute the obvious ‘subject matter’ of the latest series of canvases by Robert Ryman. Not that this is the first time Ryman isolated these elements (in the chemical sense of the term) in order to study their interaction…But after so many works that investigated…whatever plays a part in the material production and reception of a painting—the present exhibition is perhaps the first to gather canvases in which nothing else is involved but the three essential components of painting since the Renaissance: a return to the basics of basics, so to speak.” Robert Ryman (b. 1930, Nashville, TN) studied at the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute and the George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, before enlisting and serving in the United States Army (1950-52). In 1952 Ryman relocated to New York City, where, fifteen years later, he had his first solo exhibition. Since that time, Ryman’s work has been the subject of over 80 solo exhibitions in 10 countries including a 1993-94 international, traveling retrospective jointly organized by the Tate Gallery, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, whose venues also included the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Most recently in 2000-01, the Haus der Kunst, Munich, organized Robert Ryman Retrospective that later traveled to the Kunstmuseum Bonn. Ryman’s work has been included in Documenta, Kassel, Germany (1972, 1977, 1982), the Venice Biennale (1976, 1978, 1980), the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, New York (1977, 1987, 1995) and the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1988). The recipient of numerous honors, Ryman has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Scholarship (1974), the Skowhegan Medal from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1985), and was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (1994). Ryman’s work can be found in public collections throughout the United States and abroad including: the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; The Art Institute of Chicago; the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; the Des Moines Art Center; Fundació “la Caixa,” Barcelona; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Tate Gallery, London; the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Ryman currently lives and works in New York City. Images are available upon request.



Yve-Alain Bois

2002. PaceWildenstein. Paperback

42 pages: 15 illustrations; 9 x 9 inches