Anne Ryan's parents died before she was in her teens, leaving her and her three brothers in the care of their grandmother. Ryan entered the College of Saint Elizabeth Convent in 1908 but left in her junior year when she got married. By 1923 the marriage had ended and Ryan was devoting herself to writing. She published a volume of verse in 1925 and a novel in 1926 and was intellectually stimulated by her contacts with artists, writers, and actors in New York's Greenwich Village. After a year-long sojourn on the Spanish island of Majorca in 1932, she returned to New York and began to paint, encouraged by her friend Hans Hofmann. She joined Stanley William Hayter's print workshop, Atelier 17, where she created a series of engravings entitled Constellations. After seeing Kurt Schwitters's work in 1948, Ryan was inspired to make collages. The following year the first major exhibition of her work took place at the Kharouba Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Her collages use a rich variety of fabrics and papers to achieve effects that are quiet and intimate.
National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)