Artist: Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917)
Historical period(s)
ca. 1870
Oil on wood panel
H x W: 29 x 30.5 cm (11 7/16 x 12 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 10: A Perfect Harmony

Oil painting

cow, house, landscape, tree, United States

To 1908
Cottier and Co., New York, NY, to 1908 [1]

From 1908 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Cottier and Co., in New York, in April 1908 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Accession List, Collections Management Office. See also, Curatorial Remark 3, Kate Theimer, June 9, 1994, in the object record, as well as Provenance Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Cottier and Co. (C.L. Freer source) established 1869


From Lawton and Merrill, Freer: A Legacy of Art, pp. 193-94:
In 1908, when he was at Cottier and Company in New York buying a Persian ceramic bowl, Freer picked up a dark, indistinct barnyard scene called The Red Cow, one of the earliest extant paintings by Albert Pinkham Ryder. Although Ryder's reputation was on the rise in 1908, his paintings were not yet in great demand, and Freer bought The Red Cow at a fraction of the cost he customarily paid for American works.  His purchase may have been influenced by his friend John Gellatly, who possessed a parallel taste in American art and a collection that grew to include fifteen Ryder paintings in addition to a large number of works by Dewing and Thayer.  Freer himself knew practically nothing about Ryder's work--he told the dealer he felt more confident about West Asian pottery--and because he remained uncertain whether The Red Cow, like the Persian bowl, should occupy a permanent place in his collection, he took it "on probation." There is nothing to suggest, however, that Freer ever considered parting with the painting.  Seeing it at home with his collection, he may have found its warm colors and densely painted, crackled surface comparable to his glazed ceramic pots, or its dreamlike atmospheric quality relevant to other of his American paintings that were drawn in the same way from shadowy recollections.

Published References
  • Bryson Burroughs. Loan Exhibition of the Works of Albert P. Ryder. Exh. cat. New York, March 11 - April 14, 1918. pl. 9.
  • Burns A. Stubbs. Paintings, Pastels, Drawings, Prints, and Copper Plates by and Attributed to American and European Artists, Together with a List of Original Whistleriana, in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 1, no. 2, 2nd ed. Washington, 1967. pl. 10.
  • William Innes Homer, Lloyd Goodrich. Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams. New York. p. 20, 234, fig. 2-5.
  • Frederic Fairchild Sherman. Albert Pinkham Ryder. New York. pp. 69, 77.
  • Elizabeth Broun, Eleanor L. Jones. Albert Pinkham Ryder. Exh. cat. Washington, April 6, 1990 - January 8, 1991. p. 146, 204, fig. 130.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 195, fig. 132.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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