Featured in New Exhibition
Self Portrait (1839)
Some 60 works comprise "Forging an American Identity: The Art of William Ranney," on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through August 19. It was organized by Sarah E. Boehme, formerly of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo. (where it began its tour) and now director of the Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas. She notes that new information about the painter and recently discovered paintings by him offer "new insights" in this "unparalleled gathering of the artist's most significant paintings."The painting "Portrait of Margaret Ranney", the artist's wife is at the Cromwell (CT) Historical Society. Some additional biographical information and images follow:
Born in Middletown, Conn., the son of a sea captain, Ranney moved at age 13 to Fayetteville, N.C., where he lived with an uncle and trained as a tinsmith. His experiences in this bustling gateway to the West filled his imagination with a grand sense of the American character and landscape.
Moving to Brooklyn around 1833, Ranney began studying drawing and painting. Three years later, inspired by news of the siege of the Alamo, he volunteered to serve in the war for Texas independence. During his brief sojourn in Texas, he absorbed a wealth of observations about the culture, mores and landscape of the American West that would inspire his most famous paintings. His wife Margaret later observed that her husband was "so charmed by everything he saw…the wild enchanting prairies, the splendid horses," that he never would have returned East "but for the strong love he had for his mother."
RANNEY, William, artist, born in Middletown, Connecticut, 9 May, 1813; died in West Hoboken, New Jersey, 18 November, 1857. Tile name that was given him at baptism was William Tylee, but he never used the latter. At the age of thirteen he was taken to Fayetteville, North Carolina, by his uncle, where he was apprenticed to a tinsmith, but seven years later he was studying drawing in Brooklyn. When the Texan struggle began, Ranney enlisted, and during the campaign became acquainted with many trappers and guides of the west. After his return home he devoted himself mainly to portraying their life and habits. Among his works are" Boone's First View of Kentucky," " On the Wing," " Washington on his Mission to the Indians" (1847), " Duck-Shooting," which is in the Corcoran gallery, Washington, "The Sleigh-Ride," and "The Trapper's Last Shot." Many of these have been engraved. He was a frequent exhibitor at the National academy, of which he was elected an associate in 1850.
William Ranney Veterans of 1776 Returning from the War
William Ranney Duck Shooters (1849)
William Ranney Advice on the Prairie (1853)