Passing Song

Media - 1929.6.103 - SAAM-1929.6.103_1 - 478
Copied Albert Pinkham Ryder, Passing Song, before 1902, oil on wood, 8 124 38 in. (21.611.1 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.103
Free to use

Artwork Details

Passing Song
before 1902
8 124 38 in. (21.611.1 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of John Gellatly
Mediums Description
oil on wood
  • Figure female
  • Waterscape — boat
  • Landscape — water
  • Landscape — coast
  • Performing arts — music — voice
  • Literature — Ryder — Passing Song
Object Number

Artwork Description

In the mid-1890s, Albert Pinkham Ryder was infatuated with a voice he heard in his apartment building. He found the woman who was singing and immediately asked her to marry him. His friends intervened, saying that the woman was unsuitable, but Ryder immortalized the event by painting images of beautiful women bewitching men with their songs. In Passing Song the sailor wants to approach the woman but is unable to turn his rudderless boat as it drifts away with the current. This helpless figure probably symbolizes the artist, who felt passionately about women and fell in love easily, but never married. (Broun, Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1989)