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Glen Allison Ranney (1896-1959)

Glen Ranney was born in 1896 in Wisconsin and raised in South Dakota.  Ranney served in the Medical Corps during World War I and after the war, he studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Art.  From there, Ranney traveled to New York City to accept a scholarship at the Art Students League where he worked under George Luks, George Bridgeman and Richard Lahey.  Upon his return to Minneapolis, he spent 1923-24 painting with fellow Minnesota artist Cameron Booth at the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.


Ranney captured the vitality of Midwestern America during the 1920s, 30s and 40s.  His paintings are a representation of the rural Midwest, from people working in the fields to a more relaxed and carefree time of picnics, bathing parties and family life.  Ranney produced both paintings & lithographs between 1935 and 1943, for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project in Minnesota.  The goal of this governmental program was to employ artists, during the Great Depression, to produce “the first true portrait of America” – a record of the nation’s varied people and places by local artists who knew those subjects best.


During his life, Ranney taught art at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis School of Art, Grand Marais Art Colony and the Walker Art Center.


Although Ranney spent several years enjoying success in the art world of New York City, it was the fields and people of Minnesota that inspired him and gave his paintings strength and vibrancy.  His work is reminiscent of Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton, being a strong representative of the Midwestern school of artists … and like them, Ranney expressed the robust natural beauty and strength of American Culture.


His work is represented the collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; University of Minnesota; U.S. Marine Hospital, Carville, Louisiana; Cape May (New Jersey) Courthouse and can also be found in many private collections.


Glen Ranney passed away in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1959.

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