Passing Song

  • Albert Pinkham Ryder, Passing Song, before 1902, oil on wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.103

Luce Center Label

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)

Luce Object Quote

"By a deep flowing river

There's a maiden pale,

And her ruby lips quiver

A song on the gale,

A wild note of longing

Entranced to hear,

A wild song of longing

Falls sad on the ears."

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

Title
Passing Song
Artist
Date
before 1902
Location
Dimensions
8 1/2 x 4 3/8 in. (21.6 x 11.1 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of John Gellatly

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on wood
Classifications
Keywords
  • Waterscape – boat
  • Performing arts – music – voice
  • Landscape – coast
  • Figure female
  • Landscape – water
Object Number
1929.6.103
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI
Audio

Passing Song
about 1840, oil on canvas

ALBERT PINKHAM RYDER
Born: New Bedford, Massachusetts 1847– Died: New York, New York 1917

More from artist

More Artworks from the Collection