Smithsonian Collections

Passing Song

Image for Passing Song
Data Source
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Center Label
In the mid-1890s, Albert Pinkham Ryder was infatuated with a voice he heard in his apartment building. He found the woman who was singing and immediately asked her to marry him. His friends intervened, saying that the woman was unsuitable, but Ryder immortalized the event by painting images of beautiful women bewitching men with their songs. In Passing Song the sailor wants to approach the woman but is unable to turn his rudderless boat as it drifts away with the current. This helpless figure probably symbolizes the artist, who felt passionately about women and fell in love easily, but never married. (Broun, Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1989)
Luce Object Quote
"By a deep flowing riverThere's a maiden pale,And her ruby lips quiverA song on the gale,A wild note of longingEntranced to hear,A wild song of longingFalls sad on the ears."Albert Pinkham Ryder, quoted in Broun, Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1989
Albert Pinkham Ryder, born New Bedford, MA 1847-died New York City 1917
before 1902
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly
oil on wood
8 1/2 x 4 3/8 in. (21.6 x 11.1 cm)
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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Painting and Sculpture
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Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 6B
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor
Object number
Figure female
Performing arts\music\voice
Literature\Ryder\Passing Song