Born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1930, Robert Ryman attended Tennessee Polytechnic Institute and the George Peabody College for Teachers. After serving in the United States Army Reserve Corps from 1950 to 1952, he moved to New York City, intending to pursue a career in jazz. In 1953, however, Ryman began working as a guard at the Museum of Modern Art, and that same year he was inspired to make his first painting. His first one-person exhibition was held at the Paul Bianchini Gallery, New York, in 1967. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Ryman’s works were represented in Documenta, Kassel, Germany; the Venice Biennale; the Whitney Biennial, New York; as well as the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh. His first retrospective was organized by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 1974; Dia mounted a show of his works in 1988. In 1993, a retrospective of his work was organized by the Tate Gallery, London. Ryman was elected vice president of art for the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, in 2003. In 2005, Ryman was named the Japan Art Association Praemium Imperiale Laureate and received the Roswitha Haftmann Prize. Ryman lives and works in New York City.