1920 Born Hampstead, London. Educated Eton College
1939-40 Studied at the Architectural Association and at the Slade School of Fine Art
1948-83 Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at Goldsmiths College, London
1973-85 Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at Cambridge College of Art and Technology
Adrian Ryan 1920-1998: An Appreciation by Julian Machin
Adrian Ryan was something special. He was born privileged which didn't spoil, but rather sweetened him. He had the knack of knowing people, many of the right sort, others certainly not, but they all trusted him. He was a very good friend. He liked the company of young people and remained childlike all his long life.
He enjoyed beautiful things and saw beauty where others might not dream of looking; his pictures reflect this and manifest his unusual way of seeing things during a life lived fully. By the age of twenty three he was handsome, rich and already quite well known and by the age of sixty three he had three wives, three daughters, no family fortune and was almost unheard of among the art buying public. Only the discerning collectors who had owned his work for years and who had the sense to hold on to it still believed him to be the best kept secret in the art world.
In between, pleasant to relate, he enjoyed himself and was true to himself; he was a figurative painter and he never compromised this view. He had integrity, intelligence and didn't seem to have many regrets. Towards the end of his life as more modern audiences began to catch up with him, he began to sell again.
There are many stories about him, most of them true. Adrian's principal fault was modesty which made him all the more delightful to be with. It was always a pleasure to listen to him talking and what he said was well worth hearing, invariably witty and seldom unkind. His paintings are the same; looking at them you can sense the different aspects of his charm. The longer you look, the more they yield. He used a lot of paint in lyrical ways that aren't necessarily obvious at first. They aren't about mystery. They are about poetry, which, like Adrian Ryan's art, comes from the heart and is meant to be lastingly beautiful.
1943 First one-man show at the Redfern Gallery, London, chosen by Erica Brausen, and five more exhibitions followed in the period between 1944 and 1953
1956 Tooths Gallery, London
1964 The Minories, Colchester
1976 The University of West Virginia, USA
1980 Gallery 10, London
1983-85 The Redfern Gallery, London
1985 Retrospective of Paintings and Watercolours (1943-85), The Minories, Colchester
1985 Chateau Entrecasteaux, Var, France
1991 & 99 Galerie Timothy Tew, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
1994 'A Kettle of Fish', Sutton House, National Trust, London
1995 'Four Seasons', Petworth House, National Trust, Sussex
1996 'Dwelling Places', The Brewhouse Gallery, Eton College, Windsor
1948 Third Crypt Exhibition, St Ives, Cornwall
1953 'Figures in their Setting', Tate Gallery, London
1959 'Portraits by Contemporary British Artists', Marlborough Gallery, London
1977 'Paintings of Cornwall 1945-55', New Art Centre, London
1985 'St Ives 1939-64', Tate Gallery, London
1993, 94 & 96 Galerie Timo
1999-2000 'The Far Horizon', Tate Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall