Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969)
Black Ducks Coming In
signed "A. Lassell Ripley" lower left
watercolor, 19 1/2 by 24 1/4 in.
Sporting Gallery & Bookshop Inc., New York, New York 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. On 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, and following a successful one-man show in 1930 of his sporting art Ripley decided to change his 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.
Considered the most cunning, black ducks can be difficult to observe in nature. "Black Ducks Coming In" demonstrates Ripley's exceptional skill at depicting waterfowl, giving us a rare peek at this elusive species. He has expertly captured the bird in all of its poses: flying, swimming, preening, landing, and turning, demonstrating not only the grace of the bird, but his skill as an artist.
The Sporting Gallery & Bookshop Inc., New York, New York
The Estate of John Kingsley, Greenwich, Connecticut
Acquired from the above by the current owner