I'm Catherine Ryan, a fine arts advisor and an independent curator/historian with more than 35 years experience in the art world. I provide expert advice regarding acquisitions & collecting, marketing, and public art. I also lecture and write about visual culture, and ghost write & edit on a wide range of topics.
Independent and freelance arts consultant, writer and editor since 2002 | Former NYC art gallery dealer (1984-2002)
Catherine Ryan is the owner and founder of Catherine Ryan | art image design, an arts advisory firm helping private clients and institutions with the acquisition and sale of contemporary and American art though galleries, private dealers, primary and secondary markets, and auction. With 39 years of art world experience behind her, offering art advisory services continues to be one of Ryan's primary areas of consulting along with her work as an independent curator, historian, writer and editor.
Before moving to Massachusetts in 2006, Ryan was an art dealer and gallery co-director with her sister in New York City for about 20 years. Ryan spent those years working with some of the foremost dealers, collectors, and museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery, and the British Museum to name a few. During her tenure there, she developed year round programming; produced primary research; wrote, lectured and published; designed corporate art programs; directed marketing; developed commissions; and participated in numerous art fairs. She curated and/or co-curated 150 monthly solo and group exhibits featuring contemporary artists Laurent de Brunhoff, Eric Fischl, Tobi Kahn, Michael Mazur, Craig McPherson, Penelope Naylor, Robert Rauschenberg, Emma Amos, Gloria Garfinkel, James DeWoody, April Gornik, Dottie Attie, Lita Albuquerque, and May Stevens. Ryan spearheaded the research and production for the catalogue of May Stevens paintings and watercolors exhibition at the MFA curated by Barbara Shapiro as well as several Laurent de Brunhoff Babar surveys and Michael Mazur projects. She led an array of historic exhibits including: Berenice Abbott: WPA Photographs of New York & American Prints of the 1930s-40s (1995); Philip Guston; Anni Albers (1989); Ann Ryan (1988); Très Complémentaires: The Art and Lives of Ethel Mars and Maud Hunt Squire (2000); May Stevens: Big Daddy Paintings 1968-1976 (1997); Civil Progress Images of Black America (1997); Male Desire: Homoerotic Art in America 1900-1995 (1995); Scottish Prints (1990); Edna Boies Hopkins: Color Woodcuts (1986); and multiple major retrospectives for estates represented like Louis Lozowick and Grosvenor School artists Sybil Andrews and Lill Tschudi (their first in the United States).
Bringing attention to living artists, centering the contributions of women artists, and rediscovering under recognized artists was intentional.
A founding member of the International Fine Dealers Print Association (IFPDA) and a member in the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), the gallery was committed to building careers for contemporary artists and estates and recognized for its specialized areas of expertise. The exhibitions and published matter issued by this gallery were highly regarded and considered important scholarly contributions to our collective knowledge of American art. Beyond the artists and art--which are paramount--she had the great good fortune to collaborate and work day to day with her sister and within a 20 year span: James Wechsler (a go-to authority on Hugo Gellert, who also delved in Mexican prints and art by Fred Becker, Blanche Grambs, and Atelier 17), Laurence Hovde, David Hamill, Kristoffer Haynes, Michael Wetzel, Jen Piskorik, Belinda Marcus, Tom Stevenson--and more. Talent on staff ensures a gallery's success.
Ryan has served as a facilitator and lecturer on visual arts (individual artists, WPA-era and early 20thC American art , hidden art, public art, connections between people and space, the art market, and collecting). Ryan earned a BA from New York University. In 2010-11 Ryan compiled an on-line catalogue with 100+ sites and images by Edward Hopper inspired by his visits to Gloucester. (See Edward Hopper All Around Gloucester) Special projects since 2010: Gloucester HarborWalk; Gloucester's Fisheries Exhibit; Gordon Parks; Cape Ann Reads; directed stewardship of Gloucester's murals including WPA-era collection with Williamstown Arts Conservation Center; 1918 Flu Pandemic in Gloucester on line catalogue and resource; Rediscovering Architect Donald Monell on line resource; etc. See more on the Exhibitions tab.
She is a frequent contributor since 2014 to Joey Ciaramitaro's Good Morning Gloucester, established in 2008.
Ryan has served the arts and her community, engaging in several volunteer civic activities and pro-bono design projects. Boards and commissions include: curating and on-going expertise for the Gloucester HarborWalk 2010-; Mayor’s Representative for two administrations on Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts from 2012-2021 under Mayor Carolyn Kirk and Mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken; Gloucester's downtown Cultural District (GHCD) leadership steering committee (2011-2014) and author master plan five year review; Gloucester tourism commission (two terms); Gloucester Community Panel for I4-C2; Gloucester's Reimaging Railroad Avenue; and Wenham Museum Council.
She was raised on the North Shore and cherished visits to Gloucester and all of Cape Ann, Cape Cod and NH in her formative years. Many artists and their families and estates that she later represented had Gloucester ties, so relocating there was like coming home.