Monumental book is first in three decades about beloved New Bedford artist

Monumental book is first in three decades about beloved New Bedford artist

June 3, 2020

A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art – now available

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – A long-overdue look at the life and work of beloved American painter Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847–1917) has arrived in the form of a handsome new book called A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art, by Christina Connett Brophy, Elizabeth Broun, and William C. Agee. The publication complements an upcoming exhibition of the same name at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and explores the powerful and enduring directions Ryder forged for generations of American modernists. The exhibition opens in June 2021. The book is now available for purchase online at

Few American artists have captured painters’ imaginations with the gripping force of Albert Pinkham Ryder. The brooding spirituality of his works, coupled with formal innovation decades ahead of its time, have long made Ryder a favorite of trailblazers like Jackson Pollock, Marsden Hartley, and Arthur Dove. And yet, the artist’s biography and practices remain elusive. A Wild Note of Longing—whose title comes from a poem written by Ryder—takes up the challenge, bringing a new generation of scholarship to the most comprehensive collection of Ryder masterworks assembled to date.

Ryder is considered a seminal artist for both the late nineteenth-century Gilded Age and for the emerging modernism of the early twentieth century. This monumental new book presents multiple voices from leaders in the field on the continuing and ever evolving relevance of Albert Pinkham Ryder in modern art. In addition to a general overview of the artist’s career, essays also cover Ryder within the context of his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Ryder’s influence and context within modernism.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum will bring together major masterworks across the career of Albert Pinkham Ryder in a landmark exhibition opening next summer. “A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art” will be the first exhibition of Ryder’s work since Elizabeth Broun’s 1990 retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Originally scheduled to open in July 2020, the exhibition was moved to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Published by Rizzoli and distributed by Random House, the 250-page illustrated book A Wild Note of Longing is the first book to be published in three decades about Ryder, and is available for purchase now at The publication is supported by Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

About the Authors:

Christina Connett Brophy is The Douglas and Cynthia Crocker Endowed Chair for the Chief Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Massachusetts. Elizabeth Broun was director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery from 1989 to 2016; she is the Visual Arts Advisor to the Kennedy Center, and a member of the boards of the Henry Luce Foundation and the Olana Partnership. William C. Agee is Evelyn Kranes Kossak Professor Emeritus of Art History, Hunter College, New York, and is former director of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Pasadena Art Museum.

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About the New Bedford Whaling Museum
The New Bedford Whaling Museum ignites learning through explorations of art, history, science and culture rooted in the stories of people, the region and an international seaport. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city’s historic downtown. The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for Whaling Museum members and children ages three and under; adults $19, seniors (65+) $17, students (19+) $12, child and youth $9. For more information visit