George Rickey was born in Indiana in 1907 but grew up in Scotland after his family relocated there in 1913 to accommodate his father’s work. Rickey studied painting and drawing at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art while taking a history degree at Oxford. He then travelled to Paris where he furthered his interest in art at the Académie Lhote and the Académie Moderne. He returned to the United States where he taught for a short time at the Groton School in Massachusetts before settling in New York in 1933.

At this time Rickey’s art practice was centred upon painting, however by the early 1950s he had begun to experiment with the kind of kinetic sculpture that earned him fame. In 1965 Rickey worked at Gemini Ltd to create two of the lithographs held in the National Gallery’s Kenneth Tyler Collection. Untitled and Drawing for sculpture were intended as designs for later sculptural works.
Emilie Owens

Further reading

Chronology
 

1907
Born South Bend, Indiana, United States of America

1913
Moves to Helensburgh, Scotland

1926-29
Studies History at Balliol College, Oxford, England

1928-29
Studies at Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford

1929-30
Studies at Académie André Lhote and Académie Moderne, Paris under Fernand Lèger and Amédée Ozenfant

1930-33
Teaches English and History, Groton School, Boston, United States of America

1933
Returns to England

1934-37
Lives in New York, New York

1937
Receives Carnegie Grant to complete residency in Olivet, Michigan

1939-40
Director, Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, Michigan

1940-41
Receives Carnegie Grant to complete residency at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois

1941-48
Professor of Art, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania

1942-45
Serves as a gunnery instructor in US Army Air Corps

1945-46
Studies Art History, New York University, New York

1948-49
Studies at the Institute of Design, Chicago as part of GI Bill program

1949
Begins to experiment with sculpture
Returns to Europe for six months

1953
First solo exhibition of sculpture, John Herron Art Museum, Indianapolis

1955-60
Professor of Art, Tulane University, New Orleans

1960
Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

1961-65
Professor of Art, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York

1964
Included in Documenta 3, Kassel, West Germany

1965
Completes edition, Untitled, at Gemini Ltd., Los Angeles

1966
Visiting artist, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

1967
Writes book, Constructivism: origins and evolution (New York: G. Braziller,)

1968-69
Receives grant, Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienstes, West Berlin

1972
Receives American Institute of Architects Fine Arts Medal

1975
Receives Sculpture Award from Indiana Arts Commission

1991
Solo exhibition, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

1997
BBC films documentary, The Moving World of George Rickey, directed by Kevin Macdonald

1999
Solo exhibition, Within the poetry of motion: George Rickey, Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach

2000
Solo exhibition, Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York

2002
George Rickey died in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated September 2014