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Alden Lassell Ripley traveled to Europe twice in his early years.   The first time he was enlisted in the Army and saw action in some of the worst battles in France including those at Marne and the Argonne.  Seven years later, he returned to Europe with a fellowship to study art.  The second trip was certainly more quite than the first but it also involved much hard work that helped shape him into a versatile and talented artist.

Mr. Ripley was born on December 31, 1896, in Wakefield, Massachusetts.  His parents were Alden P. and Inez (Lassell) Ripley.  While he was still attending Wakefield High School, he began taking classes at the Fenway School of Illustration.

He lost two years study serving in the Army.  When he returned from Europe in 1919, he found a scholarship waiting for him at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  One year later, he married a friend from his grammar school days, the former Doris Verne.  For the next three years, the couple lived near Boston while he finished his course of study at the Museum School.  Because his work showed such promise, the museum granted Mr. Ripley the Paige Traveling Fellowship for two years of study in Europe.  Accompanied by Mrs. Ripley, he traveled and worked abroad during 1924 and 1925.  He visited many of the great museums in Paris, London, Madrid, Munich, and Amsterdam.

Mr. Ripley was a member of the American Society of Watercolor Painters, Artists Professional League, Audubon Society, National Society of Mural Painters, Concord Art Association, Academic Artists Association, and the Guild of Boston Artists, an organization of which he was president for some time.  In addition, Mr. Ripley was elected to the National Academy of Design, an achievement that is generally considered to the the highest honor an artist in the United States can attain.

His murals and his etchings are well known and widely respected, although he stopped etching in 1956.  Two of the most famous murals done by Mr. Ripley were Purchase of Land from the Indians, in the public library at Winchester, Massachusetts, and Paul Revere's Ride, in the post office at Lexington, Massachusetts.

His paintings appear in the Chicago Art Institute; The Municipal Art Gallery, Davenport, Iowa; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the International Business Machines Corporation collection; and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Canada.  He was also represented at the Grand Central Gallery and the Sportsman's Gallery, both in New York City, and at the Guild of Boston Artists in Boston.   His paintings are also in many private collections.

Mr. Ripley died August 1969 in Massachusetts.

---------------THE ART---------------

Widgeon was done in pen and ink with pencil for tones and values.  A dry-point etching was made for the print using warm black ink on white paper.  The prints were signed in  pencil and not numbered.  The image size of the print is 6"x8 1/2".

---------------THE STAMP---------------

Widgeon...Engraved by the Federal Bureau of Engraving from the original artwork.   Printed in brown ink.  The stamp sold for one dollar.  Postal records show 1,383,629 stamps sold.  First day of sale was July 1, 1942.

Most of the information contained above is from the book Federal Duck Stamp Story, Fifty Years of Excellence, by Laurence F. Jonson; Alexander & Co.  It is used here with permission from the author. For more information on this book, please click here.