A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art - New Bedford Whaling Museum


New Bedford native Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917) comes home in a once-in-a-generation exhibition at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.



Albert Pinkham Ryder,
<em>Weir's Orchard,</em> 1885-1890
Oil on canvas, 17-1/8” x 21" 
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1970.71
Albert Pinkham Ryder, Weir's Orchard, 1885-1890 Oil on canvas, 17-1/8” x 21" Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1970.71


Wattles Family Gallery
Opened: June 24, 2021
Closing: October 31, 2021

Explore the exhibition gallery, the artworks, and exhibition themes using the digital resources below.

TOP IMAGE: (Detail) Albert Pinkham Ryder, With Sloping Mast and Dipping Prow, ca. 1880-1885, oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.102. Unframed: 12 x 12 in. Framed: 18 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 2 5/8 in.

The landmark New Bedford Whaling Museum exhibition A Wild Note of Longing brought together major masterworks across the career of New Bedford, Massachusetts native Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917). Ryder achieved legendary status among artists during his lifetime and his work continues to influence contemporary American artists. This was the first exhibition of Ryder’s work since co-curator Elizabeth Broun’s 1990 retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Ryder was a prophetic visionary, seeing and representing the world in a way that diverged from everyone else. To many, he is considered the father of American modernism, and perhaps, the most influential American artist in America. Jackson Pollock famously proclaimed in 1944 that “the only American master who interests me is Ryder.”

A Wild Note of Longing brought together Ryder’s most iconic paintings, including exceptional examples from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, such as Flying Dutchman, Jonah, and Pegasus Departing. Also included are Ryder paintings from the Brooklyn Museum, the Phillips Collection, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, the Toledo Museum of Art, and private collections.

A dozen paintings by well-known modernists such as Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Jackson Pollock, and Wolf Kahn, who were inspired by Ryder’s experimental approach and abandonment of tradition, were featured. Ryder’s ongoing influence was revealed through works by present-day artists including Bill Jensen, Pousette-Dart (both Nathaniel and Richard), Lois Dodd, Peter Shear, Katherine Bradford, and Emily Auchincloss. 

Exhibition Introduction Video

With Co-Curators:

Christina Connett Brophy, PhD, Senior Director of Museum Galleries and Senior Vice President of Curatorial Affairs at Mystic Seaport (formerly The Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum)

Elizabeth Broun, PhD, Director Emerita of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

William C. Agee, Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor of Art History Emeritus, Hunter College, CUNY, after museum positions as curator and director

Critics Are Raving

"An impressive mini-retrospective of significant paintings and an account of his still vital legacy."

— Karen Wilkin, The Wall Street Journal 

"A riveting show..."

— Brian T. Allen, The National Review —

"If floating on dark, languid waters or scaling towering breakers is your idea of summer fun, head north and get yourself on Ryder’s wavelength."

— R. C. Baker, The Village Voice —

"A must-see for all those who can make the trip to coastal southern Massachusetts."

— Andrew L. Shea, The New Criterion —

"Possibly the most important art exhibition of 2021 in the Commonwealth...Mysterious to the point of holy..."

— Franklin Einspruch, The Arts Fuse —

A WILD NOTE OF LONGING ALBERT PINKHAM RYDER and a Century of American Art Donors

Lead Sponsors

  • Anonymous
  • Kathy & Gurdon B. Wattles

Presenting Sponsors

  • Susan & Hans Brenninkmeyer
  • Carol M. Taylor & John H. Deknatel
  • Benefactors

    • Anonymous (2)
    • Jayne & Richard Burkhardt
    • Victoria & David Croll
    • Marilyn & David Ferkinhoff
    • Elizabeth T. & Morris W. Kellogg
    • Katherine & Frank Martucci
    • Frima G. & Gilbert L. Shapiro
    • Capt. & Mrs. Robert G. Walker
    • Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Foundation


  • Jewelle W. & Nathaniel J. Bickford
  • Marnie Ross Chardon & Marc E. Chardon
  • Cynthia & Douglas Crocker ll
  • Deborah & William R. Elfers
  • Furthermore: A Program Of The J.M. Kaplan Fund
  • Vanessa & John Gralton
  • Patricia A. Jayson
  • Patricia & John M. Kalisz


  • Design Principles, Inc.
  • Pamela Donnelly & Timothy Mahoney
  • Bess Dawson Hughes & James Hughes
  • Frances Levin
  • Ann & D. Lloyd Macdonald
  • Alice Rice Perkins & Mark C. Perkins
  • Edgenie H. & Donald S. Rice
  • Tina & Paul Schmid
  • Karen E. & Bruce A. Wilburn
  • Susan & Harvey Wolkoff
  • Grace & David A. Wyss


Mary Jean & R. William Blasdale
Russell Burke
Betty Ann & Jack Cannell
Paula Cordeiro & David O'brien
J. Briggs Grinnell
Margaret B. Howland
Elizabeth & Thomas Mckay
Faith & Ambassador Richard L.
Barbara Moss & Timothy Haydock
Judith W. & Robert L. Rosbe, Jr.
Martha Mullen Taradash & Melissa J.
Pelletier, Trustees Of The Amy Janes
Bare Charitable Trust
William Vareika Fine Arts Ltd