American, 1930 –
Robert Ryman was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1930. His first love was music. He studied music at the Tennessee Polytechnic Institute and then at the George Peabody College for Teachers. After serving two years in the army during the Korean War, Ryman moved to New York to study Jazz.
Ryman found his love for fine art while working as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art and at the New York Public Library in the Art Division. He once said “When I first saw a Rothko painting, it was at the Museum of Modern Art. …I didn’t know exactly what it was at first, but I immediately liked it, I could experience it.” In 1961, Robert Ryman began to paint full time.
He was inspired by abstract expressionist works of Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman. His mimimalist artworks include abstract expressionist brush work. For Robert Ryman the act of painting and materials used is paramount and he loves experimenting with new materials including linen, steel, aluminum, plexiglas, vinyl, corrugated paper, newsprint, burlap, wallpaper and fiberglass
He had his first one-man show at Paul Bianchini’s gallery, New York, in 1967 and his first museum show at the Guggenheim Museum in 1972. His work has been identified with the movements of monochrome painting, minimalism, and conceptual art. Robert Ryman is best known for abstract, white-on-white paintings.