Adrian Ryan was born in Hampstead, London and was educated at Eton College. At the beginning of WWII he spent a year studying at the Architectural Association and at the Slade School. A first solo show of his paintings was held at the Redfern Gallery, and his main career in art was begun. Friends made along the way brought him inevitably into the orbit of the modernists grouping in Cornwall, and paintings by him were included in the 3rd Crypt Exhibition (1948) in St Ives.
Exhibiting regularly at the RA and widely in the UK and abroad (France, USA), Adrian's other occupation was lecturing in painting and drawing from 1948 both at Goldsmiths College, and subsequently at the Cambridge College of Art and Technology until the mid 1980's. Solo and mixed shows followed and his work was included in the exhibition 'West Country Artists' (1962) in Hanover, and 'Paintings of Cornwall 1945-55' (1977) at the New Arts Centre, London.
Honouring the place of Cornwall in Adrian Ryan's somewhat rackety life is not easy, but Julian Machin in his recent (2009) biography has done an excellent job of detailing aspects of the artist's relationships, his depressive periods, and his imagery in painting. Though never remaining in West Cornwall for long periods, his imprint remains, and this can be seen in his inclusion in several exhibitions since his death in 1998 in Camden Town, London.
works and access
Chantry Bequest (Tate Gallery); Gulbenkian Foundation; Arts Council, British Council, Government Art Collection, Contemporary Art Society, Nuffield Foundation, Sainsbury Trust, V&A
Local: Myrtle Cottage (1948) at Penlee House, Penzance; Harbour Fete, Mousehole (1960) at Cornwall Council
1948 (Group) 3rd Crypt Exhibition
1999-2000 (Group) The Far Horizon, Tate Gallery St Ives
2002 (Solo, memorial) A Different Kettle of Fish, Penlee Gallery, Penzance
2004 (Group) Suns and Moons, Falmouth Art Gallery
2012: 'Effortless Brushstrokes', Falmouth Art Gallery 11 Feb - 14 Apr
misc further info
Personal: J Machin (2009) Rather a Rum Life; [biography, life & works]
Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership
Tate (1985) St Ives 1939-64: 25 Years of Painting, Sculpture & Pottery, biog notes p140 with photo