Ryder was a reclusive, self-taught artist, whose painting style is both highly personal and very expressionistic. Here Ryder combines two of his favorite themes—his love for the sea and his fascination with Shakespeare. The painting is not a literal scene from “The Tempest,” but a combination of all the major elements from Act 1, Scene 2, placed into one dramatic storm-filled landscape. Ryder reworked the painting for more than twenty years and at one point the artist took a hot poker to the canvas and dragged it through the thickest part of the sky. The painting remained in the artist’s possession until his death.
Artist Albert Pinkham Ryder, American, 1847-1917
Title
  • The Tempest
Date 1892, reworked between 1896 and 1918
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 27 3/4 × 35 inches (70.5 × 88.9 cm)
Framed: 43 5/8 × 51 × 6 1/8 inches (110.8 × 129.5 × 15.6 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Dexter M. Ferry, Jr.
Accession Number 50.19
Department American Art before 1950
On View American W284, Level 2 (see map)
ca. 1896-1903, Col. Charles Erskine Scott Wood (Portland, Oregon, USA);
1918, Wood.
February, 20-32, 1946, sale, John List Crawford and Other Collections, lot 58, Macbeth Gallery, Parke-Bernet (New York, New York, USA).
Dr. Chester. J. Robertson (Pelham Manor, New York, USA);
September 9, 1948, consigned by Robertston to Macbeth Gallery (New York, New York, USA);
1950-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Wood, Charles Erskine Scott, to Robert C. Vose, August 9, 1918. Wood papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

Exh. cat., Legion of Honor. San Francisco, 1926, no. 159.

Price, Frederic Newlin. Ryder: A Story of Appreciation. New York, 1932, no. 182.

Albert P. Ryder Centenary Exhibition. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of Art. New York, 1947, no. 46.

Albert Pinkham Ryder. Exh. cat., Corcoran Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1961, no. 52.

A Look at American Landscapes. Exh. cat., Charles MacNider Museum. Mason City, IA, 1966, no. 14 (ill.).

Baltimore, 1976, no. 30.

200 Years of American Painting. Exh. cat., National Museum. Warsaw, 1976 (ill.).

Brown, G.L. “Albert Pinkham Ryder’s Joan of Arc: The Damsel in Distress.” Worchester Art Museum (MA) Journal, 3 (1979-1980): p. 44, no. 9 (ill.).

Homer and Goodrich, 1989, pp. 133-134 and 168-169 (pl. 13).

Broun, 1989, no. 66.