Ralph M. Pearson Biography

An accomplished American etcher of the early twentieth century, his subjects include a set of Toilers of the City, Indian pueblos, and California scenes.

Ralph M. Pearson was born on May 27, 1883 in Angus, Iowa. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, under Charles Francis Browne and John Vanderpoel.  

An important element of Pearson's etched work was his painterly approach to etching. Dismissing many traditional values of the day, he was one of the first American etchers to emphasize formal relations and key elements of design. In 1911 he produced a series of etchings of workers in Chicago. He was one of the earliest printmakers in New Mexico, settling in Taos about 1915.

During his distinguished career his etchings received awards from the California Society of Etchers, 1913; the Chicago Society of Etchers, 1914; the Panama Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915 (medal); the American Bookplate Society (1917); the California Print Maker's Society (1922); and Stendahl Gallery (LA), 1923.

Ralph Pearson was a full member of the Art Students League of Chicago, the Chicago Society of Etchers, the New York Society of Etchers, California Art Club, the California Society of Etchers and the Brooklyn Society of Etchers. His etchings are included in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Art Institute of Chicago, Mobile Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art, and Columbia University.

He was also an influential writer on the arts and was the author of such books as How to See Modern Pictures (1925), Fifty Prints of the Year (1927), The New Art Education (1941), and Experiencing American Pictures (1943)

Pearson died in South Nyack, NY in 1958.

Collection: Library of Congress; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; NY Public Library. 11 SF Chronicle, 9-11-1922, C3; American Art Annual 1929; Who Was Who in American Art 1936-56; FId.

Source: AskART; Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"