Marion Ranyak

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Marion Lorraine Ranyak
Born(1925-01-25)25 January 1925
Died22 August 2018(2018-08-22) (aged 93)
EducationWheelock College
Known forPainting

Marion Lorraine Ranyak (25 January 1925 — 22 August 2018)[1] was an American painter who lived and worked in Rye, New York, and was a founding member of SOHO20.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born Marion Hannig in New York City, she was the daughter of William A. Hannig and Carolyn Exner Hannig.[1][2] Her father was a public school principal and later a member of the Board of Examiners (1921–53), an agency in New York City that set personnel standards for administrators and educators.[2][3] Her mother operated a successful family-owned sand and gravel company.[2][3] In 1950, Marion Hannig married John A. Ranyak;[4] they divorced in the mid-1970s[5]

In 1946, after an unsatisfactory educational experience at Wheelock College,[1][3] Marion Ranyak spent six weeks in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she studied with the painter Hans Hofmann.[5] The result, she said, was a "very strong feeling of the two-dimensionality of the surface" which was "always there" in her paintings.[5] Ranyak also began to travel—to California, France, and eventually Italy.[3] While her husband was enrolled at MIT and she was raising their three children, Ranyak had little time to paint; she ceased for 14 years but resumed work in 1962.[3] Reading Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, as she later noted, "gave me a support that I got nowhere else in my life."[3] Ranyak identified as a feminist and supported many liberal causes.[1]


Ranyak was a founding member of SOHO20 (est. 1973), the second all-women, artist-run art gallery in New York City.[6][7] At SOHO20, she initially exhibited painted geometric abstractions[8] and cement "sandcastings,"[9] but an interest in photography led her to explore more realistic views of nature.[3] Her small paintings of pebbles, stones, rocks, grass, and leaves—exhibited at SOHO20 in 1978—emphasize flatness through simplified but precise forms.[8] Ranyak’s acrylic paintings were positively reviewed in The New York Times by Vivian Raynor,[10] who described her landscapes as "modest" but with "an air of authority."[11] Raynor later wrote that Ranyak "makes Neil Welliver look like an Expressionist."[12] Ranyak was praised by another critic for her ability to suggest texture while using flatly applied acrylic paint,[13] as in Nova Scotia—Grassy Slope (1985).[14] Her later paintings of fields in upstate New York were well-received by Michael Brenson, who wrote, "She touches the canvas as delicately as a bird … The light in her paintings is always at that point of gray heat that sets everything in a landscape in motion."[15]

Ranyak remained a full member of SOHO20 until 1988 and continued as an associate member until 1995.[5] In later years, she lost interest in the urban art scene and exhibited primarily in Westchester County, New York.[5] She died on 22 August 2018, in Stamford, Connecticut)[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Obituary: Marion Lorraine Ranyak". The Journal News. 7 October 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Dr. William Hannig, 85, Dies; Screened City School Personnel". The New York Times. 28 June 1972.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Challis, Georgina (August 1985). "Marion Ranyak". American Artist. 49: 44–48, 87–88.
  4. ^ "Miss Marion Hannig Wed to M.I.T. Student". The New York Times. 2 July 1950.
  5. ^ a b c d e Dickey, Tina. "Interview with Marion Ranyak, New York City, 5/7/1998". Archives of American Art. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  6. ^ Lubell, Ellen (Summer 1977). "SoHo 20". Womanart. 1 (1): 16.
  7. ^ Broude, Norma; Garrard, Mary D., eds. (1994). The Power of Feminist Art: The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
  8. ^ a b Heit, Janet (Spring 1978). "Marion Ranyak". Womanart. 2 (3): 41.
  9. ^ Lubell, Ellen (June 1976). "Arts Reviews: Marion Ranyak/Rachel Rolon de Clet". Arts Magazine. 50 (10): 30.
  10. ^ Raynor, Vivian (17 August 1980). "The Brightly Realistic Perspective of Jack Beal". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Raynor, Vivian (21 September 1980). "Competency on Display at Bridge Gallery". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Raynor, Vivian (25 August 1991). "ART: Artists Crusading for Nature". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Charles, Eleanor (23 June 1996). "Westchester Guide". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "Christie's Interiors, New York, 5–6 April 2011, Sale 2430". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  15. ^ Brenson, Michael (2 May 1986). "Art: Fonseca's Archaeological Sculpture". The New York Times.

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