George Warren Rickey is born in South Bend, IN, on June 6 to Walter Rickey, a mechanical engineer working for Singer Sewing Machine Company, and Grace Landon Rickey, a graduate of Smith College. He is the third of six children and the only boy.
“We are told to choose the right grandparents. I did: besides my grandmother with the pencil there was my paternal grandfather, also George, the one clockmaker in Athol, Massachusetts. He could make the village clock run; seeing him wind up its weight in the tower is one of my earliest memories.”
The Rickey family moves to Helensburgh, Scotland, when George’s father Walter accepts a transfer to the Singer Factory in Clydebank.
Rickey attends Larchfield School, Helensburgh, Scotland, until 1921. Poet W.H. Auden will teach at Larchfield School in the 1930s.
Rickey begins his secondary-school education at Trinity College, Glenalmond, Scotland, where he is influenced by teacher George Lyward.
Rickey cruises the Mediterranean aboard the SS Alpera with Captain David William Bone, the brother of artist Muirhead Bone.
Rickey graduates from Trinity College, Glenalmond, Scotland, and subsequently begins studying modern history at Balliol College, University of Oxford, England.
Rickey crosses the Atlantic with Captain David William Bone and does so again the following year.
In the spring Rickey attends evening classes at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford, England. In the summer he visits Reinald Hoops in Heidelberg and lives in student housing while studying there. He visits Paris for the first time.
"My shy, serious, conservative New England heritage resonated to these revolutionary propositions and gave me the courage (or recklessness), self-confidence (or stubbornness) and imagination (or fantasy) to shun the business world my father held out to me, for a life of teaching and telling."
Rickey receives his Bachelor of Arts degree from Balliol College, University of Oxford, England. He goes to Paris to study modern drawing and painting at the Académie L’Hôte and Académie Moderne. In the fall Rickey teaches English at the Gardiner School in Paris.
In the spring Rickey meets with Endicott Peabody and accepts a teaching position at the Groton School in Massachusetts.
In the summer he visits Reinald Hoops in Heidelberg and then travels to England. While crossing the English Channel from Paris to England, Rickey meets his future first wife, Susan Luhrs.
In the fall he begins teaching at the Groton School.
In the summer Rickey travels by car across the U.S. with Susan Luhrs. The trip ends in San Francisco because the Golden Gate Bridge has not been completed.
Rickey teaches art courses in Quincy, Illinois, during the summer. He meets Philip Evergood.
“If you study something very closely, the truth you tell about it may sound implausible; maybe poetry is like that.”
Rickey leaves Groton and moves to New York. He marries Susan Luhrs at New York’s Riverside Church.
He spends September to February of the following year in Paris and travels through France and Spain. While in Paris, Rickey meets Alice B.Toklas in Gertrude Stein’s apartment. He also meets Delores Vanetti, with whom he continues a close friendship.
Rickey returns at one point to New York, where he has his first solo exhibition of paintings at Caz-Delbo Gallery.
Rickey travels in Germany during the spring and returns to New York from Paris.
He moves into a studio in New York.
On May 22, George’s father, Walter Rickey, is killed in a car accident outside of Paris. Rickey’s mother Grace and sisters Elizabeth and Alison move back to the U.S.
Rickey moves into a studio on Union Square in New York, which he keeps until 1942. Within two years of Rickey’s arrival, Doris Lee, Arnold Blanch, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Morris Kantor, Harry Sternberg, and Rico LeBrun move into studios in the same building.
Rickey has his first solo museum exhibition of paintings at the Denver Art Museum.
Rickey works for three months as editorial assistant at Newsweek.
Rickey serves as artist-in-residence on a Carnegie grant at Olivet College in Olivet, MI.
In the summer he meets sculptor David Smith in Woodstock, NY, at a party thrown by Eddie Millman. Susan and George Rickey separate.
In the spring, Rickey begins a second appointment as Artist-In-Residence at Olivet College, Olivet, MI, a position funded by the Carnegie Corporation. He begins work on the Olivet wet fresco mural project. He also travels throughout the Midwest on an educational tour for the Carnegie Corporation.
In this year, Rickey begins working with students Laura Verplank, Charles Fisk (the soon-to-be famed organ builder), Bill Dole, and others on a mural.
Rickey paints a mural at the post office in Selinsgrove, PA, as part of the WPA Federal Art Project. He also completes a mural at Olivet College.
Rickey travels to Mexico with Ulfert Wilke and Laura Verplank, and meets artist Lyonel Feininger.
In the fall and winter, Rickey rents a cabin in Fenville, MI. His marriage to Susan Luhrs ends in divorce.
Rickey serves as acting director and curator of Kalamazoo Institute of Art in Kalamazoo, MI. He starts another position funded by the Carnegie Corporation as artist-in-residence at Knox College in Galesburg, IL, and begins a mural there.
Rickey travels through Mexico.
Rickey completes his mural at Knox College. He travels to Mexico with his sister Alison.
Rickey receives his M.A. from Balliol College, University of Oxford, England.
He moves to Pennsylvania where he organizes the Art Department at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.
George Rickey is drafted and serves in the U.S. Army Air Force until 1945, stationed in Denver, CO.
Rickey offers Philip Evergood a temporary teaching position at Muhlenberg College.
Rickey travels to New York state while on leave and visits Woodstock.
The U.S. Army Air Force transfers Rickey from Denver, CO, to Loredo, TX. He makes his first mobile sculpture.
In the autumn, Rickey is discharged from the military and returns to New York where he takes art history courses at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University on the G.I. Bill.
George Rickey’s Army art appeared in various Armed forces publications (1944) and in Soldier Art, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1945.
“My sisters and I always had an A in drawing. Modelmaking and constructions are in our blood. I view theory and practice as belonging together, the one determines the other in my work. The immediate stimulus for the making of my first mobiles, however, came from the impressions and experiences I had in dealing with technical apparatus in the Air Corps.”
Rickey returns to teaching at Muhlenberg College and becomes chairman of the Art Department.
George Rickey marries Edith (Edie) Leighton at Christ Church in New York. The two honeymoon in Woodstock, NY. In the fall, George studies etching under Mauricio Lasansky at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA.
Rickey leaves his teaching position at Muhlenberg College and teaches at the University of Washington in Seattle.
In the fall he studies design at the Institute of Design in Chicago.
Rickey spends seven months traveling through Europe.
He accepts a teaching position as associate professor of fine arts at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Rickey creates his first kinetic works in glass.
Rickey seriously begins making sculpture and creates his first kinetic works in metal.
He visits artist Mark Tobey in Seattle, WA.
“A machine is not an abstraction. Though it represents nothing, it lives and moves and has its being in space. In that respect, the analogy with painting cannot be made. Painting is a projection onto a flat surface. Sculpture, by its nature, is a ‘thing.’”
Rickey spends the summer traveling in Mexico.
In June, Rickey visits Calder in his Connecticut studio.
George and Edie spend the summer at Camp Treetops on Lake Placid in Upstate New York.
George invents Mobikit.
George brings the artist David Smith to Indiana University in Bloomington.
“David Smith gave me my first and only welding lesson and the sound advice to be extravagant with materials. Gabo never taught me, but I have learned much from his Realist Manifesto of 1920 and from his work, in which I saw a lucid, sensitive poetry of space in form. I have learned from teaching and from certain students.”
Stuart Ross Rickey is born on March 23 in Bloomington, IN.
He is given his first solo museum exhibition of sculpture, Mobile Sculpture, at the John Herron School of Art Museum in Indianapolis, IN.
In the spring George resigns from Indiana University in Bloomington. In the fall he travels through the American Midwest on a teaching tour funded by the Carnegie Corporation.
In the spring, Rickey becomes chairman of the Art Department and professor of art at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, a position he will hold through 1959.
George Rickey brings David Smith and Clifford Still to Tulane University as visiting artists.
The George Rickey family spends spring and summer at the American Academy in Rome, Italy.
Rickey’s sculpture is exhibited in Europe for the first time at Amerika-Haus in Hamburg, Germany.
The Baltimore Museum of Art acquires Rickey’s Seesaw & Carousel II.
“I had to develop a language, but what was I going to say with it? I did not want merely to set static art in motion, nor to describe the dynamic world around me in a series of moving images. I wanted the whole range of movement itself at my disposal, not in order to describe the world around me, but to be itself, performing in a world of its own.”
Philip Leighton Rickey is born on March 21 in New Orleans, LA.
The Rickey family spends their first summer at Hand Hollow in East Chatham, New York.
George Rickey travels through Mexico.
The Rickey family moves permanently to Hand Hollow in East Chatham, NY.
In the spring, George is awarded his first Guggenheim Fellowship, and he takes a sabbatical from Tulane University.
The Rickey family spends part of the summer in Santa Barbara, CA, before returning to Hand Hollow. George teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where Bill Dole serves as head of the art department. The Rickey and Dole families remain close friends throughout their lives.
The Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, NJ, acquires Windflower I.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA, acquires Diptych--The Seasons I.
In the spring, the Guggenheim Foundation renews Rickey’s Fellowship. He takes a second sabbatical from Tulane University, and in the fall he resigns from teaching there.
He begins teaching at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY, where he will teach until 1966. At RPI he meets Roland Hummel, an engineering professor at the School of Architecture. Rickey and Hummel begin a lifelong collaboration.
He meets Denise René and shows sculpture at her Paris gallery.
Rickey participates in an important international group exhibition of kinetic art, Bewogen Beweging, at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (in cooperation with Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; and Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark).
In the summer Rickey begins work on his book, Constructivism.
“Types of motion available to me are, mostly, observable every day in our natural environment. In clouds, sea, falling leaves, waving grass, kits, sails, soaring birds, and flying fish, slamming doors and shutters, hurricanes, whirlwinds and sandstorms, sometimes silent, sometimes shuddering or roaring, sometimes passing through lips, reeds, or pipes as music, air moves on.”
During the summer George travels to Germany for an exhibition of his work, Rickey Kinetische Sulpturen (Sculpture in Motion) at Galerie Springer in Berlin.
George’s mother, Grace Landon Rickey, dies on March 22 in Schenectady, NY.
In the spring he spends a week at Yaddo working on his book, Constructivism.
He participates in the exhibition, Sculpture in the Open Air at Battersea Park, London. For this show twenty American sculptors are chosen by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
George visits Naum Gabo and Josef Albers in Connecticut.
George writes and publishes in Art Journal “The Morphology of Movement: A Study of Kinetic Art,” in which he outlines the sources, principles, trends, and difficulties of kinetic art.
"In art discovery is not enough. Pioneering in a new idiom, with new material, even with a new aesthetic (or a non-aesthetic) does not make it art, it makes it pioneering."
In the fall George travels to Europe, and he is asked to participate in Documenta III.
He participates in a conference on architectural uses of stainless steel at Lehigh University’s Department of Fine Arts in Bethlehem, PA.
George unveils a major installation at the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Germany, Twenty-Four Lines (1963, stainless steel).
Alfred Barr and Dorothy Miller from the Museum of Modern Art in New York visit George in East Chatham, NY.
The Whitney Museum of American Art acquires Omaggio a Bernini II (1958, stainless steel).
George participates in Documenta III in Kassel, Germany.
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, acquires Peristyle— Five Lines.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquires Two Lines Temporal I.
“The artist finds waiting for him, as subject, not the trees, not the flowers, not the landscape, but the waving of branches and the trembling of stems, the piling up or scudding of clouds, the rising and setting and waxing and waning of heavenly bodies.”
George Rickey resigns from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, leaving teaching to devote all of his time to making art.
He serves as a visiting artist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
Rickey creates Crucifera, his largest outdoor work to date.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., acquires Three Red Lines (1966–1967, stainless steel painted red).
The DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA, acquires 3 Lines— Eighteen Feet.
The Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller in Otterlo, The Netherlands, acquires Two Vertical Three Horizontal Lines.
In January the Rickey family travels to Berlin.
In the spring George teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as a Regents Lecturer.
George Braziller, Inc., publishes George’s book, Constructivism.
“I do not claim to be a Constructivist. Yet I respect the humility, rigor, self-effacement and regard for object-rather-than-process which characterized early Constructivist work and gave meaning to the 'real' in Gabo’s Realist Manifesto.”
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN, presents Rickey’s work in a solo exhibition, Recent Kinetic Sculpture.
Six Lines in Parallel Planes is installed at the State Employment Building in Albany, NY.
The Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY, acquires Six Lines in a T (1965–1966, stainless steel).
The Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA, acquires Two Red Lines II.
Rickey participates in the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (the German Academic Exchange Service Artists-in-Berlin Program).
George sets up a studio in Berlin where he will work until 1995.
Once again, Rickey participates in the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (the German Academic Exchange Service Artists-in-Berlin Program).
Rickey travels to Paris, returns to the U.S., and then travels to Amsterdam, Munich, and Frankfurt.
He works on the model for a project of large rectangles in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
He travels to Osaka, Japan, to prepare for Expo ‘70.
Rickey is now dividing his time each year between East Chatham, NY, and Berlin.
In the spring Rickey is awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, by Knox College in Galesburg, IL.
Through the years George and Edie Rickey have built a formidable collection of “constructivist” art work. The University Art Gallery at the State University of New York at Albany mounts the exhibition, Constructivist Tendencies: Selections from the Collection of George and Edith Rickey. In addition to items from their collection, the traveling exhibition includes several works by Rickey.
Rickey for a third time participates in the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (the German Academic Exchange Service Artists-in-Berlin Program).
He travels to Rotterdam, Bellingham (WA), San Francisco, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Amsterdam, London, and Glasgow.
"I think I know what I’m doing."
Rickey receives the Fine Arts Award from the American Institute of Architects.
He is awarded the honorary degree, Doctor of Letters, by Williams College in Williamstown, MA.
Rickey moves his Berlin studio to Bundesplatz.
George and Edie donate their Constructivist collection to The Neuberger Museum at the State University of New York in Purchase.
Rickey travels in Mexico.
The Rickeys move their living quarters in Berlin to Bundesplatz. The family spends the summer in Venice, Italy.
George travels to Skowhegan, ME, to receive the Painting and Sculpture Medal from the Skowhegan School.
He is awarded the Dillon Visiting Fellow Award by the Groton School in Groton, MA.
He receives the honorary degree, Doctor of Letters, from Union College in Schenectady, NY.
“Motion, which we are all sensitive to, which we are all capable of observing without having to be taught, is a sensation that appeals to the senses just as color does. It has an equivalent of the spectrum, different kinds of types of motion I think that one can, to a very considerable extent, isolate motion as a visual component and design with that.”
The Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, Denmark, acquires One Up One Down Oblique IV, and it is installed in 1976.
The Institute of Art in Kalamazoo, MI, acquires Four Lines Oblique Gyratory IV (1973, stainless steel).
Rickey receives the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
He is elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters (now the American Academy of Arts and Letters).
The Neuberger Museum of Art at the State University of New York in Purchase acquires Two Lines Oblique Down.
Rickey receives the Indiana Arts Commission Award for Sculpture.
The Rickey family travels to Mexico.
Rickey travels to Honolulu, HI, and Tokyo, Japan.
“Technology is not art but every art has its technology... I do not develop technology for its own sake or to cause wonder, only in response to my felt need.”
Rickey travels to Berlin, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Yucatan.
He is awarded the Certificate of Appreciation in Art and Architecture from the General Services Administration of the U.S.
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., publishes Nan Rosenthal’s book, George Rickey.
Rickey travels to Copenhagen, Zurich, Berlin, and Paris.
He receives the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from York University in Toronto, Canada.
Rickey travels with sons, Stuart and Philip, to the Greek island of Crete.
Rickey receives the Creative Arts Award Medal from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.
“Since the design of the movement is paramount, shape, for me, should have no significance.”
Rickey travels to Berlin, London, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne, and Peru.
He establishes the Hand Hollow Foundation to provide grants to artists for residencies in East Chatham, NY.
"I committed myself to a completely new technology, a new aesthetic, new criteria, a new kind of response from others and a new antiphony between myself and the new object I held in my hand. I had to wonder whether Calder had said it all; when I found he had not, I had to choose among the many doors I then found open."
Rickey travels to Berlin, Amsterdam, Glasgow, San Francisco, and Ireland.
He works with Seth Schneidman on the documentary, George Rickey—Portrait of an Artist (later edited by Kevin Macdonald and retitled The Moving World of George Rickey).
Rickey attends a seminar at Gorey Arts Center in County Wexford, Ireland.
He receives a citation from the National Association of Schools of Art.
Rickey travels to Berlin, Cologne, and Zurich.
He celebrates his 75th birthday with family in Scotland.
“My work must be precise or it fails. I am rather sloppy by nature; the precision comes out of need, not personality.”
Rickey travels to Berlin and Munich.
He receives the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.
"In this late, but not yet twilit afternoon, I am still catching up with what I have wanted to do, partly pushing into the unknown to find out what I might do, partly saying no, not yet to possible adventures."
Rickey establishes a studio and living quarters in Santa Barbara, CA.
He travels to Honolulu, Venice, Berlin, Edinburgh, and Cologne.
Rickey receives the New York State Governor’s Arts Award.
He receives the Atlanta (GA) Urban Design Commission Award of Excellence.
Rickey travels to Scottsdale, Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart, and Zurich.
Rickey presents a lecture and meets with students at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
He is elected to the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.
He celebrates his 80th birthday in East Chatham, NY.
A delegation from the U.S. invites Rickey to travel with them to China, where he visits various art schools and gives demonstrations of his work.
Rickey spends Christmas in St. Paul.
Travels to California, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, and Zurich.
Rickey travels to Zurich, Berlin, Rotterdam, London, Cologne, and Stuttgart.
He visits artists Ed and Nancy Kienholz in Hope, ID.
Rickey is in Berlin when the Wall comes down.
He works with Jörn Merkert on the development of a permanent “Rickey room” at Berlinische Galerie in Berlin.
Rickey recieves the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.
He serves as a panelist on the symposium, “Pricing and Negotiating Your Sculpture,” at the International Sculpture Center in Washington, D.C.
Rickey travels to Grenoble, Berlin, and Glasgow.
J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., visits Rickey in East Chatham, NY. As a result, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., acquires Cluster of Four Cubes, which is installed in 1992.
Rickey travels to Guadalajara, Mexico; Berlin; London; and Nice and Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
He celebrates his 85th birthday at the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin.
Minneapolis Institute of Art acquires Sedge II.
Storm King Art Center acquires Five Open Squares Gyratory Gyratory.
Rickey travels to St. Paul, St. Lucia, Denver; Berlin, Dortmund, and Nurenberg, Germany.
He is awarded the Verdienstkreuz, 1 (erste) klasse (Order of Merit, 1st Class) of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Rickey establishes the George Rickey Foundation as a non-profit corporation.
Edith Rickey dies on June 24. A memorial for her is held on August 7 in East Chatham, NY.
George Rickey receives the Gold Medal for Sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is elected to their membership.
Rickey travels to Glasgow, Denver, St. Paul, San Francisco, and Paris.
He receives the Lord Provost’s Award, in Recognition of Service to the Visual Arts, presented by the City of Glasgow, Scotland.
Rickey spends Thanksgiving in St. Paul.
Rickey travels to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and South Bend, IN.
He celebrates his 90th birthday with a number of special exhibitions.
Rickey gives the sculpture, Dialogue, to the South Bend Regional Museum in South Bend, IN.
He spends Thanksgiving in St. Paul with his son, Philip, and his family.
He attends the unveiling of Etoile Variation V at the Albany Institute of History and Art in Albany, NY.
Rickey travels with his son, Philip, to Scotland, where he sails on the Clyde, and visits his childhood homes in Helensburgh and Glenalmond.
Rickey donates Triple L Excentric to Maggie’s Centre, in memory of Maggie Keswick of Glenalmond.
He visits Balliol College at the University of Oxford, and donates Two Planes Vertical Horizontal II to the College.
He travels to St. Paul for Christmas and then to San Francisco.
Rickey spends time in Santa Barbara, where he sets up a studio at the home of the Doles.
He receives the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture, along with Kenneth Snelson, at the Century Club in New York.
The edited version of the film, The Moving World of George Rickey, by Seth Scheidmen and Kevin Macdonald, receives its premiere.
Rickey spends Thanksgiving with Laura Verplank and family in Sewickley, PA, and Christmas with his son, Stuart, in San Francisco.
Rickey travels to Santa Barbara, St. Paul, and South Bend, IN.
He installs Annular Eclipse (2000, stainless steel) on Park Avenue in New York as the first in a series of installations that turn the Park Avenue median into a sculpture park (filmed by Kevin Macdonald).
Rickey receives the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.
He spends Thanksgiving in St. Paul.
Rickey travels to Santa Barbara.
With his health failing, Rickey moves to St. Paul, where he sets up a small studio.
George Rickey dies on July 17 at the age of 95 in St. Paul. Memorials are held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York on October 24, and in East Chatham, NY, on October 26.
Rickey’s son Philip receives the Finkenwerder Award in his father’s name in Hamburg, Germany.
“I am not an inventor. I have learned that 'new' does not mean 'good,' that novelty is seductive but treacherous. This does not mean that I don’t have a frontier to explore. I am deeply interested in what lies just beyond the frontier. I try to cross it, to glimpse what awaits there, as discovery, as a possibly expressive language. What lies there is not new; it has been there all the time, waiting to be used.”