OMeadowlark Gallery: The Artist Biographies

James "Jim" R. Ryan (1898-1962)

James Ryan was born in New Jersey on November 6, 1898. Although born in New Jersey, Mr. Ryan's family moved to New York City when the children were small and he spent his youth. Most of his education was done in New York. Ryan came from a family of artists, his sister having been well known in art circles of New York. His sister gave over 17 "one woman" showings before he death. Ryan's brother had been with Tiffany's of New York in the silverware design and stationery department.

James Ryan attended the Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York City. He later went to Paris, France where he studied at the Grande Chaumier Academy and also the Colarozzi Portrait school. Ryan apparently enjoyed extensive traveling.

He came to Birney, Montana where he homesteaded in 1923. He designed his studio and cabin which he also built overlooking the Tongue River.


Elling William "Bill" Gollings personal diary dated July 14, 1931

Elling William "Bill" Gollings personal diary dated July 21, 1931

[The reference to Jim Ryan staying at Engles was John Engle who was the manager of the Mutual Motor Company, Chevrolet Sales and Service at 316 North Main in Sheridan, Wyoming. John and Lois Engle lived at 541 South Thurmond in Sheridan, Wyoming. Source: Polk's 1930 Sheridan City Directory.]

Signature attributed to 1945.

James Ryan conducted many art classes throughout southern Montana and New York. He lectured and did murals in Denver, Colorado and for many local ranchers of the Birney area. He was known for his book and magazine illustrations. In 1961, Ryan began conducting classwork in sketching, oils and other media at the Sheridan College.

Source: "Attack Kills Artist Here", Sheridan Press; December 3, 1962.

Source: Forsyth Independent; August 17, 1962

Source: Sheridan County Fulmer Library, Wyoming Room, Sheridan, Wyoming

James Ryan passed away on December 2, 1962.

Readers' Viewpoints
December 3, 1962

Editor of Press:

"Sunday's beautiful autumn weather lifted the spirits of all; but today, Monday, even nature weeps.

The soul of James R. Ryan, artist, has left his beloved adopted home in Absaraka region to dwell in greater beauty, beauty the glimpses of which he brought to the world not alone in his art but in his philosophical reflections, too.

To know Jim Ryan was to know peace. Pope or plain folk, tycoon or tot, Jim Ryan spoke with them with the greatest generosity of spirit and painted them with a most sensitive understanding of harmony in Creation.

To know Jim Ryan was to love him. Never has anyone had a greater teacher than was Jim Ryan. In tribute may we regard this shadow which his passing has cast over our lives as he would want us to regard it. Always Jim Ryan taught his art students: Study the shadows, search the shadows, for the shadows live. There is much light in the shadows. Find it and your art will live.

Edythe K. Araas."

Marylee Moreland commented to me how Jim Ryan was instrumental in her career as an artist. While still in high school in Sheridan, Wyoming, her counselor told her because of her grades she would only be able to attend a trade school. Jim Ryan stepped in and told her how a land grant college in Montana had to accept her. She went on to receive her degree from Montana State University in Bozeman. Her course in life was well aided by Jim Ryan.

We are actively seeking works by Jim Ryan. The following are examples of works by Jim Ryan and are not for sale.

"Untitled-Cowboy With Saddle"
(Oil on paper)