Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Albert Pinkham Ryder

Today is Albert Pinkham Ryder’s Birthday. He would be 162 years old, but he died in 1917. I like to think he had a little time to float in the universe's river of spirits before he came back a second time, as a crab ship captain in Alaska. Maybe he was reincarnated in the 50’s and is one of those bristly, sodden characters on a ship right now. Still crazy after all these years.
I say this because the melancholy sea was his main subject, he loved ships in moody darkness.
We happen to have two of his paintings, but most visitors probably don’t know that. The equestrian on the left, and on the right, mother and child.
Ryder was a technical nightmare, meaning he has few remaining paintings due to his use of quick drying paint over slow. He ruined his canvas’ for future viewers, but he may not have cared. He said nature wasn’t perfect, and the idea of painting anything to be perfect only frustrated him. He was not easily satisfied with his work, always trying to get closer to nature’s true representation and feeling a failure he painted over and over again. Now his works are cracked and falling apart. There are more fakes on the market than real.
In his personal life, he lived in a pit of a New York apartment, ate only bread and milk and slept on a rolled out piece of carpet. He needed little of the material world, and thought artists as a lot should sacrifice worldly goods for creative endeavors. He said "The artist needs but a roof, a crust of bread and his easel, and all the rest God gives him in abundance. He must live to paint and not paint to live.”
He wasn’t a bad guy, and so I say Happy Birthday Albert, for you I post my most favorite poem by Edgar Allen Poe, the poet you've been compared to and I can see why.

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide,
I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

If we had a podcast I'd read it aloud, as I can hear it in my head on repeat and probably will all day long.

1 comment:

Calvin said...

This is one of the best youtube recitations of Poe's poem. The producer has disabled the embedding on blogs like this. The reader has one of the best voices.