Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969)
A Pair of Pheasants, 1948
signed and dated "A. Lassell Ripley © 1948" lower right
watercolor on paper, 21 by 29 in.
The Sporting Gallery and Bookshop, NY label on back
Born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Aiden Lassell Ripley was the son of a Boston Symphony Orchestra musician. From an early age he excelled at music, but he soon discovered a deeper interest in painting. By his mid-teens, Ripley was committed to a career in art, commuting into Boston to take classes. After returning from service in World War I, he attended the Boston Museum School where he studied with the country's top artists, including Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1934) and Frank W. Benson (1862-1951). Ripley was awarded a Paige Traveling Fellowship to study in Europe. While abroad, he painted watercolors "en plein air" in North Africa, France, and Holland. Upon his return in 1925, he was elected to the prestigious Guild of Boston Artists. His work focused on the New England countryside as well as depictions of city life and railroad commuting scenes. The Great Depression, however, limited the sales potential for these works. Following a successful one-man show of his sporting art in 1930, Ripley decided to change tack and specialize in hunting, fishing, and outdoor scenes as subjects.
Along with his contemporary Ogden Pleissner (1905-1983), Ripley exemplified the life of a successful sporting artist. Collectors of Ripley’s sporting art endorsed his numerous trips to the salmon rivers of New Brunswick and the quail plantations of Georgia, where the artist indulged his passion for hunting and fishing while recording material he would use in his art.
In this work, the bright pheasant pair feel almost life-size as they flush above the corn stalks. Employing a strategy he more often used with grouse and woodcock, this is one of the most vibrant and boldly painted pheasant paintings by Ripley.
Provenance: Gifted to Henry Booth, circa 1950
Private Collection, by descent in the family
Literature: Stephen B. O'Brien, Jr. and Julie Carlson Wildfeuer, "The Art of Aiden Lassell Ripley," Boston, MA, 2000, p. 103, related painting illustrated.
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