As Armand entered high school his neighbor Mr. Andrews introduced him to Adan M. DeRyke, an accomplished artist who had received an exceptionally fine education at a premier art school in Amsterdam. But in the United States he, like Mr. Andrews, had been forced into a line of commercial work. On Saturday afternoons Armand would catch a bus across town to DeRyke’s home on Leonard Street, on the north-west side of Grand Rapids, bearing a cigar box with a few tubes of oil paint rattling around in it, a board to practice on, and as a fee for an hour of semi-private lessons, fifty cents and a cigar pitched in by Jasper Merizon.

DeRyke drew his inspiration from landscapes. He would take Armand and four or five of his other charges into the nearby countryside and make them study the landscape through narrowed eyes so that they could center on the elements of composition. All told, DeRyke gave Armand six lessons. Whatever positive contributions he made to Armand’s development as an artist, his chief contribution may have been by negative example: a man of promise beaten down by commercial interests. DeRyke’s weakness as a salesman of his own art made him vulnerable to shysters who bullied him into selling his valuable oil paintings for shamefully meager compensation. Armand recalls with gall how two patrons, a wealthy insurance agent and a well-known minister, boasted that they had pried large expensive oil paintings out of DeRyke for a pittance (VanderMey, 2012).