Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969) Setting Out signed "A. Lassell Ripley" lower left watercolor, 16 1/4 by 22 5/8 in.
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 in 1930 of his sporting art, Ripley decided to changetack 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.
"Setting Out" represents one of Ripley's very best waterfowling watercolors. In the painting, Ripley conveys an air of confidence as ducks fill the sky on a windy winter day.
Provenance: Private Collection, Georgia
Literature: Stephen B. O'Brien, Jr. and Julie Carlson Wildfeuer, "The Art of Aiden Lassell Ripley," Boston, MA, 2000, p. 138, pl. 125, illustrated.
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