Posts Tagged ‘Howard Pyle’

NewYearsDay NC Wyeth

Painting by N.C. Wyeth

New Year’s Day 2016. Thought I’d start 2016 with a few takes on New Year’s Day from some of my favorite illustrators.  Wishing everyone good health and good news in the New Year.  I’m getting ready and  am kind of looking forward to coming back to the blog on a regular basis in a few days.

NewYearsDay Ben Kimberly Prins

Painting by Ben Kimberly Prins

NewYearsDay Howard Pyle

Drawing by Howard Pyle

NewYearsDay Norman Rockwell

Painting by Norman Rockwell

leyendecker- new year1930-c

J.C. Leyendecker 1930

leyendecker New-Years-Baby-1940-Saturday-Evening-Post

J.C. Leyendecker 1940


J.C. Leyendecker 1942

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Andrew Wyeth -Mother Archie's Church 1945

Andrew Wyeth -Mother Archie’s Church 1945

We went to Cooperstown this past Monday to catch the last day of the Wyeth Family exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum.  It was a great show featuring work from patriarch NC Wyeth,   son Andrew, grandson Jamie, daughter Henriette and daughter Carolyn as well as Henriette’s husband, Peter Hurd and NC’s primary influence Howard Pyle.  That’s a lot of talent to jam into a relatively intimate space.  You might think that it would be less than satisfying but the curating of this show was masterful, showing each artist in a truly representative manner that gave a real taste of their body of work.   Just a wonderful show.  I am glad I got to see it  if only to see a few of NC Wyeth’s gorgeous works and to discover more about his son-in-law, Peter Hurd, whose work is wonderful, bringing to mind the regionalist painters such as Grant Wood.

Thomas Cole- The Course of Empire- Destruction

Thomas Cole- The Course of Empire- Destruction

Of course, there was also the spectacular Thaw Collection of American Indian Art to see.  As always, it was a thrill to see the beautiful aesthetic of the native culture.  And as good as both the Wyeth show and the Thaw Collection were, I was truly bowled over by the current show, The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision, featuring works from the Hudson River painters of the 19th century,  Just beautiful and strong examples from the genre, highlighted for me by the works of Asher Durand and the spectacular Thomas Cole series of five paintings, The Course of Empire , which features the rise and fall of an empire in the landscape, a rocky peak with a precariously perched boulder standing as a constant witness.  You have probably seen some of the paintings from this series but to see them together  in their full scale is to really get a great appreciation for their power.  It hangs at the Fenimore until September 29, so if you can, take a trip and see some incredible work.


Cole, Course of Empire - Savage State 1834 Cole, Course of Empire - Arcadia, Pastoral State 1834 Cole, Course of Empire - Consummation of Empire 1835 Cole, Course of Empire - Desolation 1836


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Howard Pyle-  Marooned PirateLater this year, the Fenimore Art Museum will be presenting a big show featuring the works of the first family of American art, the Wyeths, in a show titled  The Wyeths: A Family Legacy.  I have written several times here about my admiration for the work of  family patriarch NC Wyeth and son, Andrew Wyeth.  Their work is woven into the cloth of American art and this should be a great exhibit highlighting their work as well as other talented members of the clan.  Also included in this show will be work  by the great American illustrator, Howard Pyle, who was the teacher and mentor to NC.

Howard PyleAlthough his name is not nearly as well known as many who followed in his footsteps, it’s hard to overstate the influence that Pyle (1853-1911)  had on future generations of American illustrators and artists.  He was huge in his time, a celebrity who mingled with the great writers and thinkers of the time.  His illustrations for many of the most popular magazines of that time, based on the great stories of literature, shaped how we saw those stories.  Cinematographers, costumers and set designers took their clues from Pyle’s visions of the stories they were staging.  For example, his vision of Robin Hood became the idealized version that we came to know in the old Errol Flynn classic movie.  His idea of the pirates of Treasure Island became ours.  His cowboys, knights  and explorers ingrained themselves into our collective psyche as we saw them on the page and on the movie screen.

Howard-Pyle-The-Wolf-and-Doctor-Wilkinson-Once-it-Chased-Doctor-Wilkinson-into-the-Very-Town-ItselfThere is an interesting sidebar to the extent of Pyle’s fame.  In a letter to his brother, Theo, Vincent Van Gogh wrote ” Do you know an American magazine Harpers Monthly?  There are wonderful sketches in it…which struck me dumb with admiration…by Howard Pyle”  His work may have been illustration but it was  pure art as well and the eye of Van Gogh could see that in the  line work and rhythm of his compositions.   I know that I am always inspired by his work and the that of his acolytes,  including NC Wyeth and Norman Rockwell.   I am  really looking forward to seeing his work alongside the Wyeths this year at the Fenimore.  It should be a memorable show.


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