Henry Ward Ranger (1858-1916)

Henry Ward Ranger (1858-1916)

Born in Syracuse, New York Henry Ward Ranger attended Syracuse University before travelling to Europe where he became a self-taught artist.  Aside form being one of the leading tonalist painters, a practice that dismissed French Impressionism by featuring subtle gradations of a limited range of color, Ranger was considered the “ Dean of American landscape painting.”  His career as an artist erupted during the 1890’s when he went to Old Lyme, Connecticut. By the turn of the century he made regular painting trips there where he painted along the Mystic River.  While on sketching trips he and other artists often stayed with Florence Griswold, who was a staunch supporter of the arts. Later he was instrumental in establishing the Old Lyme Art Colony.  By 1905 Ranger had established a studio in Noank, Connecticut where he painted in the summer and continued to paint at his New York City studio during the winter.

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Ranger was a member of the American Watercolor society, Boston Art Club, the Lotus Club, and in 1906 became a full member of the National Academy of Design. He exhibited regularly at the Boston Art Club, the National Academy of Design and the Brooklyn Art Association, and received a number of medals at international expositions, including one at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Upon his death in 1916, Ranger bequeathed his entire collection and estate to the National Academy of Design to establish the Ranger Fund intended to purchase paintings for donation to the nation’s museums. 

In 1919, Vose Galleries showed some of Ranger’s most beautiful oil paintings.  In a catalogue for the one-artist exhibition, R. C. Vose described Ranger as essentially a colorist, and close student of nature:  “The oak and willow were his favorite models, and no one has portrayed the power and majesty of the one and the delicacy of the other more delightfully than he.”  

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