A NOTE ON FORGERIES

RYDER HAS BEEN more widely forged than any American artist except Blakelock. His small production, the fact that he originated few pictures in his last fifteen or twenty years, his growing reputation among collectors, and the fairly high prices his works brought in his old age, attracted forgers even during his lifetime; and the production of fakes grew steadily after his death. Although he painted only about a hundred and sixty pictures, there are probably five times as many falsely ascribed to him. The fakers specialized in moonlit marines, based on the two most accessible paintings of this type. Toilers of the Sea (plate 17) and Moonlight Marine (plate 25) in the Metropolitan Museum. But in the end they so confused things that they no longer knew Ryder's style, and imitated each other. Many "Ryders" in the market today, as well as some in museums and private collections, have only a remote relation to his work.

In order to clarify this situation, I started over twenty years ago to gather all available information on Ryder's life and works, to be published in a catalogue raisonné. The first step was to establish which works could be proved genuine by objective evidence, such as an unbroken history of ownership going back to the artist, or records of the picture during his lifetime (exhibitions, reproductions, descriptions or other published references). A thorough examination was made of published material since, 1865-books. magazines, newspaper reviews, exhibition and auction catalogues. Records of dealers who had handled his work during his lifetime were consulted. Every such bit of information was entered under each picture. This established that over a hundred works were recorded during Ryder's life in such ways as to prove their authenticity

These works were subjected to thorough study, using x-ray, microscopic examination arid examination under ultra-violet light. This study was carried on chiefly in the laboratory of the Brooklyn Museum, with

-117-

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Albert P. Ryder
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Acknowledgements 7
  • Notes on the Illustrations 113
  • A Note on Forgeries 117
  • Chornological Note 121
  • Selected Bibliography 123
  • Index 127
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