Dancing Dryads

  • Albert Pinkham Ryder, Dancing Dryads, by 1879, oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.93

Luce Center Label

Many American painters in the nineteenth century painted nature as a classical world of dryads, nymphs, and other imaginary creatures. Albert Pinkham Ryder was inspired by a painting by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot that shows dancing figures in an atmospheric, intimate landscape. In Dancing Dryads, Ryder added many layers of paint and glaze to create a thick, enamel-like surface that emphasized the glowing colors and dreamlike scene. Over time, however, the colors faded and an early restorer actually added the outlines around the figures to prevent them from disappearing into the background. (Broun, Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1989)

Luce Object Quote

“In the morning, ashen-hued,

Came nymphs dancing through the wood.”

Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1881, quoted in Broun, Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1989

Dancing Dryads
by 1879
Not on view
9 x 7 1/8 in. (22.8 x 18.0 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of John Gellatly

Mediums Description
oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard
  • Performing arts – dance
  • Mythology – classical – dryad
  • Landscape – tree
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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