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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Dwight Primiano.

Misty Moonlight

Artist: Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847 - 1917)
Date: ca. 1885
11 1/4 x 11 3/4 in. (28.6 x 29.8 cm)
Framed: 18 1/8 × 18 1/2 × 1 1/4 in.
Medium: Oil on canvas mounted on panel
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2007.3
verso, on reverse of plywood secondary support, in black marker: NYAB 710 4083 5235
verso, in ink: [indistinct]
verso, in chalk: 12

On View
Accession Number: 2007.3
Provenanceto Mr. C.L. Schlens, New York, NY, until 1923; (The American Art Galleries Sale), March 7, 1923, Lot 21 A; to (Ferargil Galleries), 1923; George Buell Hollister, Corning, NY, by 1930; by descent to Buell Hollister (his son), 1952; by descent to John Whitaker Hollister (his son), 1981; to (Babcock Galleries, New York, NY), 2006; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2007
Label TextTo produce his gauzy atmospheres, Ryder often used unorthodox methods such as adding layers of paint while underlying coats were still wet. The physical instability of his materials altered the paintings over time, and few of Ryder’s works today look as they did when he completed them.

Ryder’s seascapes, such as Misty Moonlight, derive in part from recollections of his childhood in coastal New Bedford, Massachusetts. The painting’s spare composition, which consists of rectangles of sea and sky, the triangular forms of a sailing ship, and a round moon, prevents the imposition of a specific narrative and invites imaginative contemplation. Ryder’s harmonious color scheme of blacks and greenish grays unifies the painting’s four components and reinforces its somewhat melancholy air.