Planting Time is a quintessential example of Ripley’s non-sporting work, demonstrating his talent for elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary. Farming and garden subjects were a notable favorite of the artist and were painted by him year-round, thus serving as visual souvenirs of the cyclical nature of agricultural life. Planting Time shows two gentlemen engaged in the earliest part of the cycle, turning and preparing the soil in rows for sowing, and setting up stakes to accommodate the plants that will eventually result from their efforts. The spring day is sunny and warm, the perfect weather adroitly translated by Ripley’s expert handling of his chosen medium.
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Ripley studied at the Fenway School of Illustration and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Philip Leslie Hale. Showing great promise, he was awarded the Paige Traveling Scholarship, the school’s most prestigious prize, and spent the years of 1924 and 1925 touring France, North Africa, Italy, and Holland. While not trained in watercolor, Ripley took up the medium during his trip abroad for he felt it was more practical and easier to transport. Upon his return to Massachusetts, he settled in Lexington and was once again caught up in the local scenery.
Ripley’s achievements as an artist were widely recognized by museums and associations alike. He continued to exhibit his foreign landscapes and also painted scenes of Boston and the surrounding communities, but as an avid outdoorsman he became best known for his watercolors depicting sporting themes.
Ripley received numerous prizes during his lifetime and exhibited works at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the National Academy of Design in New York. In addition to the Guild of Boston Artists, he showed his watercolors locally at the Boston Art Club and the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as annually at Vose Galleries as part of the Boston Society of Watercolor Painters from 1928 to 1935. Ripley’s work can be found in several museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming.
Private collection, Rochester, New York, until 2015
To private collection, Tavares, Florida, September 2015 to present
(verso of sheet in pencil) “Planting Time” / A. Lassell Ripley
(likely) Eighty-First Annual Exhibition, American Water Color Society, New York, New York, February 9 – March 1, 1948, no. 354 Planting Time