Reading Anne Ryan’s Poetic Collages

Anne Ryan, “Untitled (no. 544)” (1951), collage, 13 x 16 1⁄4 inches (courtesy the Estate of Anne Ryan and Washburn Gallery, New York)

In the annals of postwar New York art, collage artist Anne Ryan is inaccurately described as the prolific poet of the 1920s who gave up verse to make visual art in the 1940s and ’50s. It’s undeniable that Ryan’s visual art — especially her collages — established her prominence in the final two decades of her life, a legacy honored on the 20th anniversary of her death, in 1974, with a solo exhibition at leading American museums. 

In these subsequent decades, Ryan’s art has been presented in one-person and group shows to laudatory and frequently rave reviews.

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