JOHN RUTHERFORD BOYD
(FAMOUS NEW JERSEY RESTAURANT)
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER, SIGNED
24.5 X 39.5 INCHES
Rutherford (John Rutherford) Boyd
1884 - 1951
Rutherford was born in Philadelphia and lived during his career in New York City, New Orleans where he was a sketch artist, and Leonia, New Jersey.
Beginning his career as an illustrator, Boyd Rutherford later became a painter, sculptor, designer and art educator.
He also wrote numerous articles about fine art, which were published in many periodicals.
He enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art under Thomas Anshutz.
After relocating to New York in 1905, he shortened his name to Rutherford Boyd and studied at the Art Students League
Memberships included the American Watercolor Society, and the Architecture League, and exhibition venues include the Art Institute of Chicago.
Painter, sculptor, watercolorist, draftsman and illustrator Rutherford Boyd made his living creating illustrations for magazines and exhibited his objective paintings and watercolors widely, but today is chiefly remembered for his abstract sculpture. Born John Rutherford Boyd in 1884 in Philadelphia, his father Peter K. Boyd (d. 1907) owned a woodworking shop that built furniture and architectural decorations. Boyd worked in his father’s shop until he entered Philadelphia’s Central Manual Training School in 1898. Granted a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) on graduation in 1901, Boyd first took evening classes at PAFA and in 1902 became a full-time student there. He took the conventional curriculum, studying under Thomas Anshutz (1851-1912) and Hugh Breckenridge (1870-1937). In 1903 Boyd left PAFA and moved to live with relations in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Two years later he moved to New York City, where he took an apartment with artist J. Scott Williams (1877-1975), shortened his name to “Rutherford Boyd,” studied at the Art Students League and began selling illustrations to several magazines. In 1909 he was appointed associate art director of the “Ladies Home Journal” and moved back to Philadelphia, although he seems to have kept a studio in New York City. The following year he married his fellow PAFA student and sculptor Harriet Repplier, the daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia banker. After having risen to art director for the “Ladies Home Journal,” in 1915 Boyd left that publication to become art director for “the Delineator,” a fashion magazine, while also providing illustrations to “Everybody’s Magazine” and “World’s Work.” After living in Merion, Pennsylvania for a few years, in 1916 Boyd bought the Cole-Allaire House, an 18th-century Dutch house, perhaps the oldest home in Leonia, New Jersey. Remodeled and named “Boydsnest,” from 1917 it was his home and studio and a gathering place for the Leonia arts community. Boyd attended the first of a series of lectures in 1917 in New York City by Jay Hambridge (1867-1924) on “Dynamic Symmetry,” a theory of composition of art works based on the ancient Greek theory of the Golden Mean. Boyd’s pursuit of design concepts using Dynamic Symmetry expanded his artistic style to include abstraction in his sculpture and drawings. While continuing his magazine and advertising illustration practice and creating representational paintings and watercolors for exhibitions at the Chicago Art Institute, PAFA and venues in New York City, Boyd’s keen interest in design led him to create abstract works for his own pleasure. His son David (1916-2010) thought that none of his father’s abstract works were sold during his lifetime (Mattingly, p. 224). During the 1930s and 1940s Boyd continued to exhibit, won prizes for his works at exhibitions in Charleston, S.C. and Dallas, created a sundial for the Woods Hole (Mass.) Marine Biological Laboratory (now the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), executed a commission for eight cover illustrations for the “Saturday Evening Post,” presented sculpture exhibitions in his studio, wrote articles for a variety of publications and created a 9-minute abstract motion picture shown at New York University in 1938. Boyd received national recognition through the article “Speaking of Pictures,” published in “Life Magazine” in 1949. He was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Salmagundi and National Arts Clubs (both in New York City), and the Architectural League of New York. Boyd died in Leonia in 1951. (TNB 11/2017) Selected bibliography: Dreishpoon, Douglas. Science Into Art: the Abstract Sculpture and Drawings of Rutherford Boyd (1882-1951). Exhibition catalog. New York: Hirschl & Adler, 1983. Mattingly, Paul H. Suburban Landscapes: Culture and Politics in a New York Metropolitan Community. Pp 220-229. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.