Cartoons & Comics: The Early Art of Tom Ryan
July 21, 2017 @ 10:00 am - April 1, 2018 @ 5:00 pm
Cartoon. Tom Ryan, circa 1945, drawing. Tom Ryan Collection. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 2002.032.6
Acclaimed Western artist Tom Ryan (1922-2011) spoke often about those who inspired him: N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Frank Reilly, even Rembrandt. Yet sketches from the Museum’s Dickinson Research Center reveal another influence — cartoons and comic strips. Dating from 1936 to 1945, the small drawings provide a snapshot of Ryan’s high school and Coast Guard years. Original characters Dan the Cop and Joe Campion Jr. spring from his teenage imagination. A member of the track team agonizes on the school paper’s sports page. Ship decks and shipmates are satirized in the South Pacific. Regardless of subject, his creativity, talent, and humor are on full display. They entertained his friends more than 70 years ago. Now a new audience will be in on the joke. This exhibition is organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.