The Delaware Art Museum Blog

Elizabeth Siddal’s Sketch for “La Belle Dame sans merci”

June 17, 2020

Sometimes, despite the best efforts of art historians and even with the help of 21st-century technology and archival resources, as much as we dislike admitting it, there are questions that just can’t be answered definitively. The study of the work of Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (1829-1862), Pre-Raphaelite model, muse, artist, and poet, poses more unanswered questions than most, and that applies specifically to the drawing (one of three works by the artist in the Museum’s collection) under review here. Best known as the face of avant-garde feminine beauty in the work of many of the early Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood paintings, Siddal’s own…

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Edward Burne-Jones’s Windows for the Chapel of the Cheadle Royal Hospital

May 1, 2020

In January of this year the Museum was fortunate to acquire a stained-glass window designed by Edward Burne-Jones for Morris & Co. The window, featuring the Old Testament patriarch Noah, was offered through a dealer, one of several windows featuring patriarchs and saints, originally installed in the Chapel of Cheadle Royal Hospital, near Manchester. Between 1906 and 1915 Morris & Co was engaged in creating the windows for the newly built Chapel of the Cheadle Hospital. Stained glass windows made up a significant portion of the products sold by the decorative arts firm from its beginnings in 1861 as Morris, Marshall,…

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Inside Look: Angela Fraleigh’s Sound the Deep Waters

April 3, 2020

Angela Fraleigh’s triptych, Sound the Deep Waters, connects women young and old, creating an imagined community in a dreamlike realm. Shared experience and a collective consciousness are important themes for the artist. The paintings build upon Fraleigh’s previous work bringing attention and recognition to undervalued female historical actors including site specific pieces at the Edward Hopper House Museum and Study Center and the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site that acknowledge women who inhabited the spaces. Similarly Sound the Deep Waters, a commissioned work by the Delaware Art Museum, celebrates the women who reside in the museum’s permanent collection, including female…

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Two Recent Acquisitions by Edward Burne-Jones

February 11, 2020

The Museum was recently able to purchase two drawings [ILL. #1], which served as preparatory sketches for our painting of Hymenaeus [ILL. #2] (1869, oil over gold leaf on panel) by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898). In the painting, Hymen, goddess of marriage, is shown at left, blessing the nuptials of the couple on the right. In the drawings, the three figures are split between the two sheets of paper, allowing the artist to work out the individual poses. Certain details which appear in the final painting are not included in the drawings. For instance, the harp held by…

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Arabesque Cover Designs for Washington Irving’s The Alhambra and The Conquest of Granada

January 22, 2020

Most Americans are familiar with the writer and historian Washington Irving and his well-known legends of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Irving (b.1783-d.1859) was one of the first writers from the newly formed United States to be recognized across Europe and he set the standard for a uniquely American form of fiction writing. Less well known are some of Irving’s works of history or his time spent in Europe as part of the diplomatic corps. Two works that came out of Irving’s foreign adventures were histories of medieval Spain during the period when modern day Andalucia was controlled by…

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Botanical Notes for Angela Fraleigh: Sound the Deep Waters

November 18, 2019

In addition to the four large paintings Angela Fraleigh created for Sound the Deep Waters, the artist assembled five bouquets to complement the Victorian-era imagery on view. Floriography, or the language of flowers, is the use of a flower as a means of coded communication. By the middle of the 1800s, guides were published to denote the meanings, and the many—and sometimes varied—connotations were generally understood. A specific type of flower may reference an individual’s trait, intention, sentiment, social concern, or condition. Aside from symbolic associations, many flowers have practical uses—aromatic, medicinal, or toxic—and their use has been explored and…

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Experience Renée Cox’s Baby Back at the Delaware Art Museum

October 24, 2019

The below depicts the artist, Renée Cox, reclining on a sunny yellow chaise longue. Her naked backside faces the viewer as she gazes over her shoulder. Her bright red heels and the whip in her hand nod to sexual submission and control. At first glance Renée Cox’s Baby Back may seem erotic or even pornographic, until you consider the long history of male artists using female nudes as their subjects. In this self-portrait Cox is directly referencing famous paintings such as Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Édouard Manet’s Olympia, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s La Grande Odalisque, all depicting unabashedly naked women. In…

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Mitch Lyons: The Hand Translated

September 18, 2019

Mitch Lyons worked as a traditional potter until 1980, the pivotal point in his career when he refined his method of printing directly from clay. Experimental forms of printmaking have been pervasive throughout the history of art; however, never before has such an inventive matrix, medium, and process been utilized for image transfer. Lyons began by wetting the stoneware clay slab he used for nearly 40 years. He created imagery using fairly conventional ceramic decoration techniques. Lyons poured clay slips of various colors directly onto the surface and drew, painted, or cut directly into the clay with a variety of…

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Making Mystery Approachable: Po Shun Leong’s Landscape Box

August 29, 2019

A box is a practical device, but artists have long seen greatness in its form. Some artists, like Donald Judd, celebrate the box for its simplicity. Joseph Cornell adopted the box given the practical role it served: its walls were boundaries that divided outside realities from the world he constructed within. Judd, Cornell, and the many other artists achieved their artistic success with boxes by playing upon their audience’s expectation of discovering mystery, mysticism, and magic within the unknown interior space. Similarly, Po Shun Leong has mastered the dramatic potential of the box. A contemporary wood artist working in California,…

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Winnifred Eaton and Genjiro Yeto: The Asian-American Artists Behind A Japanese Nightingale

August 1, 2019

The second half of the nineteenth century saw the peak of an artistic movement known as Japonisme, or the use of Japanese inspired design elements in European and American art. In 1854 with the Treaty of Kanagawa, trade opened between Japan and the United States for the first time in 200 years. American artists were drawn to the “purity” and “originality” that they saw in Japanese art. James McNeill Whistler, a well-known American artist based in the United Kingdom who often painted in the Japonisme style, is quoted to have said of this newfound interest in Japanese design, “grafted on…

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Q&A with Tara Contractor, the 2019 Amy P. Goldman Pre-Raphaelite Fellow

July 24, 2019

Each summer, the Delaware Art Museum and the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press offer a joint fellowship in Pre-Raphaelite studies, which is generously funded by the Amy P. Goldman Foundation. This one-month Fellowship is intended for scholars conducting significant research on the lives and works of the Pre-Raphaelites and their friends, associates, and followers. The 2019 Amy P. Goldman Fellow was Tara Contractor, a PhD candidate at Yale University in the History of Art Department and a co-curator of an upcoming exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, Unto this Last: Two-Hundred Years of John Ruskin. Her dissertation topic, “British Gilt:…

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Julio daCunha

July 23, 2019

I’ve spent the last month immersed in the paintings of Julio daCunha, which will go on view in a retrospective at the Delaware Art Museum in early 2020. daCunha produced a body of work that is both diverse and recognizable as his own—brilliant and startling juxtapositions of color, flattened compositions with bold lines and inventive geometric forms, subjects that include perennially-challenging myths and pure abstraction. The exhibition is part of the Museum’s ongoing Distinguished Artist Series, which recognizes artists who have made a significant impact on the local art community. While daCunha was born in Colombia, attended the world-renowned Cranbrook…

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William James Aylward’s Three Views of American Clipper Ships in 19th-century New York

June 25, 2019

“Let us imagine ourselves back among the handsome ships”: William James Aylward’s Three Views of American Clipper Ships in 19th-century New York New York at that time was the clipper capital and her home was in South Street, the most fascinating place in the world. Never, since sea-borne commerce began was it so enthroned as here… The proud ships…once poked their bowsprits inquisitively across the street, almost into these very windows…[in] that decade between eighteen fifty and sixty. —W. J. Aylward, “The Clipper-Ship and her Seamen,” 1917[1] Why would an artist paint three versions of a scene? This question arose…

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Library Digitizes Maxfield Parrish Letters

May 20, 2019

In the summer of 1884, fourteen-year-old Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) arrived in London. The young illustrator would spend two years abroad with his parents traveling to various cities and recording his experiences in a series of letters to his friend and cousin, Henry Bancroft. Parrish’s letters reveal unique details of continental travel, popular culture, and societal values at the end of the 19th century from a distinctly American perspective. In 1951 the Delaware Art Museum was given 34 letters and postcards written and illustrated by Parrish to his cousin between 1883 and 1909, including 18 from his travels in Europe. These…

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Inside Look: Washington Bridge, New York City

May 1, 2019

In April 2019, I took part in the Inside Look series as a mediator between a work of art and an audience. The exercise was new to me, but I wanted to highlight what I consider to be a masterpiece in the museum’s paintings collection: Ernest Lawson’s Washington Bridge, New York City (1915-25). I was not the only one intrigued by this view of northern Manhattan. During the fruitful discussions made possible by the series’ format, several opinions were expressed about the curious choices made by the painter in his depiction of this landscape. Though named after the bridge, the…

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Broken Borders, Billowing Smoke: Orientalism in Errol Le Cain’s Illustration for Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp

April 16, 2019

An exciting assortment of children’s book illustration is currently on view at the Museum as part of our latest exhibition Fairy Tales to Nursery Rhymes: The Droller Collection of Picture Book Art. Amongst the Pied Piper, Alice in Wonderland, and other depictions of fantasy worlds is an illustration of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1981) by Errol Le Cain (1941-1989). The image portrays Aladdin seated in front of a fire while a magician throws enchanted powder upon the flames—causing a billowing smoke. A heavily stylized natural landscape containing plant and animal life surrounds both figures. This scene illustrates the moment…

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Inside Look: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon’s Ventnor, Isle of Wight (1856) and “the Garden of England”

March 29, 2019

In early February, I was invited to facilitate a discussion in the galleries focused on a work of art in the Delaware Art Museum’s collection: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon’s Ventnor, Isle of Wight (1856). As a light-sensitive work on paper, this exquisite landscape is only on view for a few months each year. Museum visitors were lucky enough to see this recently acquired, large-scale watercolor when it was installed in the Pre-Raphaelite galleries accompanying the temporary exhibition Politics and Paint: Barbara Bodichon and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with museumgoers looking closely at this work….

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Walter Crane

March 19, 2019

“The story of man is fossilized for us … in art and books.” Walter Crane, Of the Decorative Illustration of Books Old and New, 1896 Walter Crane (1845-1915), son of portrait painter and lithographer Thomas Crane, was born in Liverpool in 1845. As a child, he exhibited signs of artistic talent. He spent his days in his father’s studio sketching the hands and faces of Thomas’s portrait commissions and studying illustrations in books and periodicals. Under his father’s tutelage, Walter learned to paint in oils and designed illustrations for stories and poetry. In 1858, his amateur work caught the eye…

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Inside Look: Myth and Legacy in Howard Pyle’s The Flying Dutchman (1900)

February 18, 2019

Early last December, I had the opportunity to lead a focused gallery program highlighting a work of art in the Delaware Art Museum’s collection, Howard Pyle’s The Flying Dutchman (1900). A favorite of museum visitors, The Flying Dutchman represents the popular folk tale of a sea captain who is cursed to roam the seas forever. Located in the permanent collection galleries, the monumental painting commands the room as the haunting stare of the doomed captain draws our attention away from the equally beloved Marooned and The Mermaid on view nearby. As a graduate student in Art History at the University…

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Howard Pyle’s Samuel Nimmy. Questions, Answers, and More Questions

January 30, 2019

Pyle’s small picture shows “Uncle Sam” in his retirement at Hagerstown, Maryland, after his working for years as a wagon driver on the National Pike. I’ve always found this to be an unusually life-like and engaging portrait—the relaxed pose and conversational gesture, the level gaze, an apron suggesting some recent tasks, and a hat on the window sill implying outdoor activities. The man radiates a spirit that makes you want to know more about him. I recently decided to explore “Uncle Sam”—Samuel Nimmy—beyond the report given in the article that Pyle illustrated. A little research revealed that his story, insofar…

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John Ruskin Letters Gift

January 4, 2019

Who could have guessed there were five unrecorded letters written by the great Victorian polymath, John Ruskin, just down the road from my home? This is the kind of wonderful serendipity that seems to happen in the world of Victorian art. After all, the fact that the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the United States was assembled right here in Wilmington, Delaware is in itself pretty extraordinary! About a month ago I received an email from a Delaware Art Museum Member, whose grandfather, William Cassels [ILL no. 1], was the recipient of the aforementioned letters penned by Ruskin. He…

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The Politics in Politics and Paint – Barbara Bodichon and Social Reform in Victorian Britain

November 28, 2018

The exhibition, Politics and Paint: Barbara Bodichon and the PRB (November 3 – February 3, 2019), examines the dual passions and pursuits of this pioneering spirit of the Victorian age. Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon’s lifetime of concurrent engagement with art and social reform is not as incompatible as it might at first seem. During the second half of the 19th century, Bodichon was engaging in an act of social reform just by choosing a professional career of any kind. Raised as one of four illegitimate children of the liberal Member of Parliament, Ben Smith, Barbara was encouraged from a young…

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The “Hello Girls”

November 12, 2018

Heroic Women Veterans of World War I This World War I switchboard worker was one of the “Hello Girls,” as the Army called them. They were American women who served as telephone operators at the French frontline in 1918 under General John J. Pershing. When he took command of American forces fighting with the French and other allies against Germany, Pershing realized that the local telephone service was unreliable. He replaced the operators with Army Signal Corps men. Their orders were to connect American officers with their French counterparts and act as simultaneous translators. Efficiency did not improve. The men—many…

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Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon: An Algerian Excursion

October 19, 2018

In April, 2017, I received an email—in French—from the resident of a small town overlooking Lake Geneva. The sender read about our recent acquisition of Ventnor: Isle of Wight by British artist and social reformer Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, and asked if we would like to purchase more of her work. She could only send a few photographs but described a number of watercolors and several carnet (sketchbooks) in her possession that she wanted to sell quickly. For various reasons, we could only view the artworks and sketchbooks at her home in Switzerland. I was intrigued! Although Bodichon has received…

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Discovering Textiles in the Object Storage Vault

October 16, 2018

Huge quilts, tiny ceramics, two life-size statues of horses, and the sculpted heads of Frank Schoonover and Albert Einstein—these are a handful of the hundreds of items housed in the Museum’s object storage vault. Under the guidance of Margaretta Frederick and Chief Registrar Erin Robin, the curatorial department spent the past five years inventorying and photographing the Museum’s entire collection to make our records searchable online. Object storage was the final frontier in this major undertaking funded by grants from the Welfare Foundation, Crestlea Foundation, and The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. It has been exciting for the curatorial…

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Halloween Party Traditions All Fun and Games

September 21, 2018

I rarely write about works that aren’t on view, but my research on this recent acquisition was so timely for Halloween. This delicate work on paper is by Marianna Sloan, younger sister of the realist painter and illustrator John Sloan. The drawing itself will need conservation before we can share it with our visitors. In the 1890s, Marianna was following her brother’s lead—studying art and making stylized drawings for the Philadelphia newspapers. In fact, just weeks before John Sloan officially decamped from the Philadelphia Inquirer to The Press in 1895, his sister designed a poster for the Women’s Edition of…

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Dazzling 1928 painting by Harvey Dunn is repaired and returned to original splendor

August 29, 2018

I audibly gasped as I circled the desk and caught sight of the painting. It was lushly painted with an evocative composition and energetic brushwork. The influence of Howard Pyle was palpable. I kneeled down for a better look—careful not to bump the pictures behind me—and groaned. The painting had obvious damage: a tear in the sky below the waiving handkerchief, a puncture near the railing in the lower right corner, and scratches across the surface. A clear signature, reading “Harvey Dunn 1928,” kept me interested. Dunn was an important illustrator and a Pyle student, and the date was well…

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Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot

July 27, 2018

The past is always present. It is not always visible, but like the molecules that we are composed of, it is everywhere, ever-changing, and always part of us. — Hank Willis Thomas On Sunday, December 4, 2016, The News Journal published an extensive piece on the 1968 National Guard occupation of Wilmington and recently-found photographs from the period. The images were taken by staff photographers including Donaghey Brown, Fred Comegys, Ron Dubick, Frank Fahey, Tom Keene, Chuck McGowen, John Peterson, and Godfrey Pitts. The photographs are striking. Guardsmen patrol Market Street; a gun is aimed at crowd mixed in race, gender,…

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Contemporary Craft: Then and Now

July 19, 2018

In spring, 1958, during a lecture for the Delaware Art Museum’s first annual exhibition of contemporary craft, Thomas S. Tibbs, director of New York’s Museum of Contemporary Craft (now the Museum of Arts in Design) called for the breaking down of barriers between the so-called “fine arts” and the work of artist-craftsmen. Organized by the Delaware Art Museum’s Education Department and the Studio Group of Wilmington, the special display included experimentations in weaving, silver, furniture, ceramics, and enameling. A tradition was established, and the show continued every year until it was combined with the Museum’s annual painting and sculpture exhibitions…

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American Jews in the Civil Rights Movement

June 26, 2018

The three artists on display in Fusco Gallery—Danny Lyon, Burton Silverman, and Harvey Dinnerstein—are all known for their visual documentation of the civil rights movement: Danny Lyon through photographs of Freedom Summer, and Silverman and Dinnerstein through sketches of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. They also have something else in common. All three of these artists are Jewish. Their connection to the civil rights movement is part of a proud tradition of young, progressive Northern Jews who went down South to record history being made, and to participate in it. Jewish involvement in the cause of civil rights has been attributed…

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On View: An Artistic Journey with Edward Loper

May 17, 2018

On museum walls, artists are often represented by a single work of art. Curators seek out the ideal painting or sculpture to characterize the artist—a mature work, but not a really late one, in the style most frequently associated with that artist. Occasionally, we have the opportunity to explore the arc of an artist’s career by acquiring and displaying multiple works. Three paintings currently on view at the Museum demonstrate the stylistic evolution of Wilmington painter Edward Loper Sr. The canvasses date from 1937 through the 1970s and range from realistic rendering to prismatic abstraction, highlighting the development of Loper’s…

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New Acquisition

April 20, 2018

In February, just before the opening of Eye on Nature: Andrew Wyeth and John Ruskin, a number of art dealers from the United Kingdom brought a selection of their holdings to the United States during Master Drawings week in New York. While examining the art, I came upon John Ruskin’s Towers of Fribourg (1856)—the drawing I’ve been looking for throughout my entire career!. I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Very few really good examples of John Ruskin’s work come up for sale, and in the rare instance that it occurs, they are generally priced beyond our means. Surprisingly,…

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The Montgomery Bus Boycott

April 17, 2018

For the British artist and writer John Ruskin, drawing was a path to understanding. In his desire to comprehend the natural world, he depicted cross-sections of plants, geological formations, and Alpine roses in their natural habitat. Drawing, and the close investigation it requires, allowed Ruskin to better interpret his surroundings and society in his writings. As we turn our attention from Ruskin and Andrew Wyeth who both looked long and hard at nature, we lift our gaze to take in the happenings around us. This summer we turn our attention from Ruskin and Andrew Wyeth, who both looked long and…

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African American Art: Migration and Modernism

February 7, 2018

In 1940 and 1941, Jacob Lawrence produced a series of 60 paintings called the Migration Series. These paintings documented the Great Migration, an influx of African Americans from the rural South into northern cities during the first half of the 20th century. Lawrence completed the series when he was only 23 years old and the importance of his project was appreciated immediately. Within months, the works were purchased by leading museums and Lawrence soon became the nation’s most successful Black artist. The Migration panels enumerate the reasons that African Americans fled the South including poverty, lack of education, and widespread…

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Themes of Social Justice in the 2018 Performance Series

January 30, 2018

The 2018 Performance Series provides a clear picture of the Delaware Art Museum’s commitment to becoming an anchor cultural institution in an urban setting. As a part of our exciting and inclusive new strategic vision, we are dedicated to community and the arts by offering engaging programming in all art forms. The Performance Series represents a concerted effort to bring community members from all walks of life into contact with works that push artistic boundaries and encourage discussion around challenging topics within the social and political context of the present day. In this blog post we’ll explore the social justice…

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The Artist’s Vision: John Sloan’s Self-Portraits

December 7, 2017

At a recent gallery program organized by the Delaware Art Museum, I had the wonderful opportunity to witness the power of close looking and dialogue brought together in an art gallery. On November 2nd and 5th, I led the inaugural Inside Look Series, consisting of informal participatory dialogues about a work of art for an extended period of time. The focus of my talk was John Sloan’s self-portraits in the DAM exhibition An American Journey: The Art of John Sloan. Thanks to the insightful questions and comments from the talk’s enthusiastic audience, I developed some thoughts about Sloan’s self-portraits, especially…

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 1909

November 13, 2017

The more things change, the more they stay the same. — Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808–1890) In 1909, Gayle Hoskins created the frontispiece for Elizabeth Dejeans’ novel The Winning Chance. The story centers on 19-year-old Janet Carew (left), who must work to support her impoverished family. She becomes a typist for older, prosperous, married stockbroker Leo Varek (left). Before long, he makes his predatory advance, telling her that if she succumbs he will ensure her family’s welfare. Janet has already resigned other positions after resisting similar abuse. She had hoped that this job would be different. Hoskins captures Janet’s fear after she…

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From the Vault ~ Funny but serious

October 19, 2017

If you’re reading this post, you probably already know that the Delaware Art Museum is famous for an illustration collection that focuses on the period 1875 to about 1940. But our holdings also include a smaller number of seminal works from 1950 forward. We acquire works from the 1940s forward if they have a distinct visual link to historical examples or if the artist is particularly distinguished for his or her contribution to the art of illustration. The two works here are by such an artist. Cartoonist Morrie Turner (1923-2014) was the first African-American cartoonist whose comic strip had a…

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Rossetti’s La Bella Mano Meets Virtual Reality

October 3, 2017

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s La Bella Mano (1874–75) offers a multisensory experience, combining painting and poetry into a single work of art. Representing a major change in Rossetti’s approach, it reflects his assimilation of the tenets of the Aesthetic Movement. Breaking with convention, the composition offers no narrative, instead proposing a series of thoughts and ideas for the viewer’s contemplation. The addition to the Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite galleries of the seeing glass, a virtual reality piece created by Troy Richards and Knut Hybinette (November 18, 2017 – January 14, 2018) inspired by La Bella Mano, adds yet another layer to Rossetti’s intention….

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Tales from the Vault: Mystery solved and connections made

July 28, 2017

In reviewing works on paper by Howard Pyle artist during the inventory supported by our IMLS grant, I examined a small drawing that he inscribed and gave to C. L. Ward in 1907. It depicts an old man gazing out a window at an equally ancient horse-drawn carriage. Pyle created the illustration in 1892 for Oliver Wendell Holmes’ book of light verse The One Hoss Shay with its Companion Poems, How the Old Horse Won the Bet & The Broomstick Train of 1892. To the lower left of the illustration, the artist drew the profile of a mustachioed man in…

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Firework Coasters

June 29, 2017

Bring the fireworks indoors for the 4th of July with this explosive tutorial from our #DAMCreative Educators. Here’s what it takes: Glazed tiles Permanent markers A spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol A pipette A lighter   Directions: Create a colorful pattern on your tile with markers. Don’t worry about being too neat! Using a pipette, cover the surface of the tile with alcohol. Use the lighter to set fire to the alcohol. Once all of the alcohol is burned off, the flame will extinguish. To add a little extra flare, spray tile with alcohol from the bottle to create…

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John Sloan’s Long Shadows

June 28, 2017

Call it a conservation revelation. Sometimes you don’t know how dirty a painting is until it’s clean, or at least until you start cleaning it. John Sloan’s 1918 oil painting Long Shadows is just such a work. As paintings conservator Mark Bockrath observed, “As soon as I cleaned the house, I could see that there was a wonderful painting under that dense grime.” Cleaning revealed the artist’s dazzling color and lively brushwork. The shadows incorporate rich blue and plum tones that contrast beautifully with the impressive range of greens employed for the grass, shrubs, and trees. The foliage, in particular,…

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Father’s Day Accordion Book

June 16, 2017

Raise the bar on standard Father’s Day cards this year by making something extra special for your dad with this tutorial from our #DAMCreative Educators! Need inspiration? Visit our new exhibition The Cover Sells the Book: Transformations in Commercial Book Publishing, 1860-1920 or view it online here. Here’s what it takes: 3 8×8 inch squares of paper. We recommend using paper that is easy to fold; standard printer paper works best. Colorful scrapbook paper. Check your local craft supply store to find tons of colors and patterns. A few of your favorite photos of dad Any other decorations you can…

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New to the Copeland Sculpture Garden

May 19, 2017

In early May, the Museum preparators installed two sculptures in the Copeland Sculpture Garden—Robert Murray’s geometric Sioux (1990) and Charles Parks’ playful Watersprite of the Brandywine (1963). Robert Murray has been investigating the possibilities of large-scale abstract sculpture since the early 1960s. The resulting works often consist of large sheets of metal that are curved, folded or wrinkled into dynamic shapes that call to the mind the natural landscape that inspires the artist. Charles Parks is best known for his figurative sculptures that adorn private gardens and public spaces throughout the United States. Parks’ elfin creature is a personification of…

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Letter from the Director

April 13, 2017

“Rarely am I prouder to be from Delaware than when I am at the Museum.” – Museum visitor Each morning I pause to look at the visitor comment book next to the Museum Store. The above quote stopped me in my tracks a few months ago. In a few words, this anonymous visitor captured the essence of what our staff and volunteers are trying to achieve as we put together the Museum’s new strategic plan. The heart of this plan—which I look forward to sharing with you in the coming months—is how we position the Museum as a community resource…

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No Jury, No Prizes, No Plumbing Fixtures

April 3, 2017

Between 1917 and 1944 the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual exhibitions for its members. By joining the SIA and paying a nominal fee, thousands of artists—from famous painters to Sunday painters—were able to exhibit their work in enormous shows in New York City. The brainchild of a diverse group of idealistic modern artists, including William Glackens, Walter Pach, and Marcel Duchamp, the SIA was one of many attempts to revolutionize how art was exhibited in the United States in the early 20th century. The SIA shows were proudly open exhibitions, with no jury and no prizes, a policy…

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Foam Prints

March 22, 2017

You can make museum worthy artwork for your home with this tutorial from our #DAMCreative Educators! This is a great lesson in pattern or shape for little ones if you want to get them in on the fun. At the Museum we like to look at the beautiful patterns in our Pre Raphaelite galleries for inspiration or the shapes in some of our contemporary works like Robert Indiana’s Decade Autoportrait. Here’s what it takes: Large sheet of butcher paper, kraft paper, or even solid color wrapping paper Foam sheets Ball point pen Scissors Block printing ink Brayer Plexi or plastic…

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Letters between Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Fanny Cornforth Available Online Through New Digital Collections Portal

March 17, 2017

The Samuel Bancroft, Jr. collection of Rossetti manuscripts provides a unique window into the relationship between Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his model and mistress, Fanny Cornforth. Cornforth was a chameleon-like figure who passed went under a myriad of names and roles in her lifetime. Indeed, the name under which we know her was a complete fabrication, with her stepson, Fred Schott, informing Samuel Bancroft, Jr. that it was assumed in a spirit “of girlish caprice,” as the surname was taken from the mother-in-law of her short-lived first marriage. Cornforth’s real name remains a matter of dispute among biographers, some of…

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“Silk Paintings” and “Girl Artists”: Women at the Society of Independent Artists, 1940

March 13, 2017

From 1917 through 1944, the Society of Independent Artists (SIA) hosted annual open exhibitions for their members. For a $5 membership fee, artists were able to exhibit their works in huge shows in New York City. The SIA proudly featured no jury and no prizes, so all members could exhibit, and the works were hung alphabetically to further democratize the process. The SIA attracted a wide range of artists—from famous painters to Sunday painters—and became an important venue for emerging artists, women, and others underrepresented in the mainstream New York art world. Women and younger artists were also deeply involved…

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New sculpture on view!

March 6, 2017

Fritz Dietel’s Fish’s Web first appeared on the walls of the Delaware Art Museum during Biennial ’96, an exhibition of the “liveliest and best contemporary art from Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore.” Following the close of the show, the Museum purchased the sculpture and has recently installed it in one of its main public spaces. The sculpture complements two other works on view in the Museum’s East Court—Al Held’s Rome II (1982) and Dennis Beach’s Drift #19 (2011). All three works of art utilize geometric abstraction to active two and three-dimensional space. Fritz Dietel is a Philadelphia-based sculptor whose works are…

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Marbled Valentine

February 14, 2017

Make your sweetheart a one-of-a-kind piece of art this Valentine’s Day with this tutorial from our #DAMCreative Educators! At the Museum we use this activity for little hands to learn about color mixing or pattern. Here’s what it takes: Thick paper or mat board cut into heart shape (or lots of them!) Liquid Watercolor or food coloring: Liquid watercolor is one of our favorite supplies to have on hand. You can find it at any craft or hobby store or make it easy and order from your favorite online supplier. It is a versatile paint that acts like ink or…

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Recent Research in American Illustration

February 5, 2017

Since its founding in 1912 with 132 works by Howard Pyle purchased from his widow Anne Poole Pyle, the Delaware Art Museum has become a primary repository for works of American illustration from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. So, members of the public might assume that we acquired our current collection of approximately 4,000 illustrations continuously throughout our 114-year history. However, while the Museum did continue to collect Pyle’s work during its first half-century, amassing close to 90% of its current Pyle holdings by 1956, most works by other illustrators did not enter the collection in quantity until the…

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David & Lucy Pollack

January 20, 2017

Relocating from Connecticut, David and Lucy Pollack moved to Wilmington, Delaware in 2013. As recent empty nesters, the move and new lifestyle has been an adventure. David is quick to point out that at the start of this new life they “joined the Delaware Art Museum immediately.” Lucy enrolled in a one-day watercolor workshop and they have enjoyed attending exhibitions, lectures, and Member events ever since. As newcomers to Wilmington, they “are amazed by how much there is to do.” What keeps them coming back to the Delaware Art Museum is its intimate size and it is one of the…

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A Little Bit of Boston in Gallery 3

December 13, 2016

For lovers of American art, Gallery 3—the large yellow gallery filled with American art produced between the 1870s through the early 1900s—has two spectacular new additions that give us a glimpse into the changing art world of the United States in the 1890s. Impossible to miss at the center of the room stands a nearly life-size bronze figure by the American sculptor Frederick MacMonnies. Entitled Bacchante and Infant Faun and originally modeled in Paris in 1893, this work was at the heart of one of the culture wars of the 1890s. The work came to prominence when an early cast…

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Conserving John Sloan

November 28, 2016

Eleven months and counting! On October 21, 2017, the Delaware Art Museum will open An American Journey: The Art of John Sloan, the first career retrospective of Sloan’s work since 1988. This exhibition is pulled entirely from the Museum’s unparalleled collection of work by John Sloan, much of which was donated by the artist’s widow, Helen Farr Sloan (1911–2005). The show will include over 100 items—paintings, prints, illustrations, sketches, archival photographs, illustrated letters—from every stage of the artist’s career. There will be newspaper illustrations from the Philadelphia Inquirer, paintings and etchings of New York City, protest cartoons from The Masses,…

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Interview with artist Robert C. Jackson

November 17, 2016

Delaware Art Museum: You worked as an electrical engineer prior to committing yourself to painting in 1996. How did you shift from what you have described as a hobby to a full-time profession, and how did your life change once the transition was made? Robert C. Jackson:  I graduated college in 1986 and went straight to work as an engineer. It was the kind of job that is exactly what I thought you did with life. You didn’t have to like it, you just had to make a living and do it. For some, I’m sure it would be a…

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Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle appointed Chief Curator

November 16, 2016

Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle, the Delaware Art Museum’s Curator of American Art since 2009, has been promoted to Chief Curator of the Museum, effective January 1, 2017. Dr. Coyle is an expert on Ashcan School artist John Sloan and The Eight, an influential group of 20th-century American painters. Thanks to the generosity of Helen Farr Sloan (1911-2005), the artist’s second wife and devoted widow, the Delaware Art Museum is home to the largest collection of art by Sloan, as well as the John Sloan Manuscript Collection, a treasure trove of archival materials. In her new role, Dr. Coyle will be…

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Cathie Scarborough

November 16, 2016

Cathie Scarborough is a Museum Member, volunteer, and active Museum Council member. She is also one of the Museum’s biggest ambassadors. “I always tell my friends that they really ought to go to the Museum,” Cathie says. “Regardless of what you’re interested in, you will find something that appeals to you.” But Cathie, a native New Yorker who moved to Delaware with her family in 1969, hasn’t always been an avid Museum supporter. She had a passion for art—even minoring in fine arts while attending St. Lawrence University—but her two children kept her busy. Once they were grown she decided…

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New Pre-Raphaelite Acquisition

October 12, 2016

In 1856 the artist, then Barbara Leigh-Smith (later Barbara Bodichon), embarked on a painting expedition with her friend Anna Mary Howitt, also an artist, on the Isle of Wight. Barbara Leigh-Smith was the illegitimate daughter of the radical Whig politician Ben Leigh Smith and first cousin to nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. Well educated, intelligent, and forceful, Bodichon became with Howitt one of “The Ladies of Langham Place,” a group who met regularly in London to discuss women’s rights. In 1854, she published her Brief Summary of the Laws of England Concerning Women, which was used to promote the passage of…

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Kristin Landon

October 12, 2016

How did you become interested in metal as an art form? I took a class 12 years ago with Maggi DeBaecke at the Delaware Art Museum and immediately fell in love with silver. She showed me how to take a sheet of metal and turn it into a 3-D form. I was fascinated when I saw a hollow-form piece taking shape. I constantly work to expand my knowledge, by attending workshops and learning from the masters of this amazing art form. Where do you find inspiration when creating your jewelry? Architecture and found objects (junk) really interest me. I love…

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New Howard Pyle Illustrations Added to the Collection

September 29, 2016

The Museum recently purchased five of the 14 watercolors that Howard Pyle painted as costume designs for the 1909 Broadway play Springtime. A musical romance set in Louisiana in 1815, Springtime ran for 79 performances at New York’s Liberty Theater from October to December, 1909. The short run was explained by one commentator: “The play ended happily; the tragedy was at the box office. Critics loathed it.” That wasn’t universally true, as some critics did praise the production, while recognizing it for what it was, using descriptions such as sentimental, charming, pretty, and winsome. Out of town audiences were more…

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Storage Stories: Condition Report this!

August 9, 2016

Museum storage evokes a sense of mystery, aura, and unknown treasures but what really happens there? One of the most common museum storage practices is Condition Reporting, assessing the conservation state of a work. These documents help staff determine what can be on view in the Galleries or what needs to be fixed before it goes on loan to another institution. Condition Reports are traditionally a physical checklist with a photograph of the work attached. The noted condition issues include scratches, flaking of paint, and dents on frames. After a thorough review of the painting, an overall condition is determined…

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Rarely seen Howard Pyle and fantasy artwork on display for IX Preview Weekend

June 29, 2016

Imaginative Realism combines classical painting techniques with narrative subjects, focusing on the unreal, the unseen, and the impossible. The Delaware Art Museum is partnering with IX Arts organizers to host the first IX Preview Weekend September 23 – 25, 2016 at the Museum, celebrating Imaginative Realism and to kick off IX9—the annual groundbreaking art show, symposium, and celebration dedicated solely to the genre. Imaginative Realism is the cutting edge of contemporary painting and illustration and often includes themes related to science fiction and fantasy movies, games, and books. A pop-up exhibition and the weekend of events will feature over 16…

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Now on View in the Howard Pyle Galleries Through November 27

June 28, 2016

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out… – Howard Pyle In this tale, a fox infiltrates a poultry-yard. In the first illustration, he smiles innocently as a gosling delivers a tirade against his mentor, the imposing and annoyed-looking cock, who has made the mistake of smugly encouraging his protégé to offer some useful criticism of his character. In the second drawing, the fox makes a theatrical gesture of horror as the cock—feathers flying—attacks the disloyal gosling. The story goes…

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Remembering Carol Jording

April 26, 2016

The Delaware Art Museum recently lost one of its greatest friends and supporters—Carol Jording, beloved Library volunteer and Museum Council member. Carol began volunteering in the Library in 2002, and quickly became indispensable.  As the only Library staff person I rely heavily on volunteers to assist me with day-to-day operations and special projects, but Carol’s work went above and beyond that of a typical volunteer. She would cheerfully and enthusiastically dive into any project or task and would not merely accomplish it—by the time she was finished she would be an expert on the subject. In 2009 the Museum received…

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Joseph McFetridge, Ceramics

April 19, 2016

What is your teaching philosophy? My teaching philosophy and goal as an artist is to create an environment for my students to explore and express themselves through their art. I encourage dialogue and a sense of community to provide valuable critiques and constructive brainstorming. I love it when students utilize my instruction to solve problems, hone their skills, or stretch their creativity. Why do you like teaching young artists? I like teaching young artists and the young at heart because I value perspective, energy, and resiliency. I believe that empowering the next generation of young artists is important and necessary…

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The Shorts

April 19, 2016

The Shorts moved to Wilmington in 2012 from Cecil County, Maryland. Bill, an assistant professor of history, and Donna, a benefits manager for the public schools, retired within walking distance of the Museum. They found the art museum-anchored neighborhood attractive and loved the nearby parks and amenities. Having long been involved with arts-related activities and organizations in Maryland, Bill and Donna quickly joined the Museum after moving to Delaware. They had visited the Museum several times in the past and fondly recall viewing a documentary film many years ago about Edward Loper, Sr., which they watched alongside the artist. Listing…

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New Scuptures coming to the Copeland Sculpture Garden

April 18, 2016

Summer will bring exciting, new installations to the Copeland Sculpture Garden. The first is the conservation and reinstallation of David Stromeyer’s Electroglide (1983). Through a purchase made possible by grants from Crystal Trust and the Longwood Foundation, the Delaware Art Museum acquired Electroglide directly from the artist in 1983. The piece is an excellent example of Stromeyer’s work from the early 1980s and represents the ongoing interest in large-scale abstract, geometric sculptures that developed in the early 1960s. The renovation of the Museum’s building and campus from 2002 through 2005 necessitated the removal and storage of all of the outdoor…

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Brice Hunt

April 7, 2016

We recently welcomed Brice Hunt as a new Member of the Museum. A high school senior, Brice is the first person to earn her Membership as part of the new volunteer benefits program at the Museum. The program grants Individual Membership status to volunteers who have volunteered eight or more times at the Museum. Brice first discovered the Museum seven years ago when her family moved back to the United States after living in China. It immediately became her favorite place to visit. She came to the Museum as a Summer Art Camper, and when she became too old to…

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Poetry in Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Marie Spartali Stillman travels to the UK

February 8, 2016

On view February 29 – June 5, 2016 The groundbreaking exhibition Poetry in Beauty received national and international recognition, including an intimate interview with its curators on BBC News, while it was on view at the Museum (November 7, 2015 – January 31, 2016). The exhibition will be on view March 1 – June 5, 2016 across the pond at the Watts Gallery in Compton, in the Guildford district of Surrey in England. The exhibition will be smaller in size, but will be shown in the gallery and studio of the Victorian painter George Frederic Watts (1817–1904), a contemporary and…

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Speakeasies, the Silver Fizz, and Sidewheeling: Artists and Alcohol in Prohibition-Era New York

February 5, 2016

Less than three months after the start of the Prohibition era in the United States (January 17, 1920–December 5, 1933), John Sloan made his first picture of a speakeasy. Many speakeasies—establishments where liquor was served clandestinely—were above, below, or in the back rooms of restaurants. Others were in unassuming houses. Some restaurants just served liquor to customers who knew how to ask, sometimes in tea cups. According to Sloan, the etching Bandits Cave depicts “uptown thrill seekers” venturing into a basement “tea room”—as such establishments would become known—in Greenwich Village. By 1920 the Village was already popular with uptowners and…

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Diane Podolsky, Printmaking

February 2, 2016

Where are you from? I am from lower Northeast Philadelphia. I was born there and have resided there most of my life. What is your teaching philosophy? I believe that making a mark is an empowering gesture. Printmaking is the ultimate form of mark making; however, there is often extensive and expensive equipment involved as well as numerous printmaking processes. I have developed some quick but very satisfying methods of printmaking so people can experience the medium without the expense and intensity of process normally required. What is your favorite class to teach at the Museum? I teach a Friday…

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The Museum receives new acquisition for Illustration collection

February 1, 2016

In March 1933, a headline in the Wilmington Morning News announced: “Give Priceless Art and Museum Site to Local Society.” The article detailed the offer, made on behalf of the estate of collector Samuel Bancroft by his widow, son, and daughter, of “an unrivaled collection” of British Pre-Raphaelite art and related books and manuscripts to the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts. Allied with this gift was the offer of several acres of land on Park Drive (now Kentmere Parkway) on which to build a museum. The gift of the Bancroft Collection was conditional upon the erection of a museum…

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Now on view in the Pre-Raphaelite galleries!

December 15, 2015

It is human nature to categorize, and this method of learning is often applied to our understanding of art. The placement of one or more works of art of different style, time period or locale can stimulate new observations, breaking down previously held assumptions and adding to our understanding of the referential nature of the history of art. Now on view in the Pre-Raphaelite  galleries, Edward Burne-Jones’ (1833-1898) The Council Chamber is paired with Passengers, a painting by the American artist Steven Assael (born 1957). Burne-Jones’ interpretation of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale is an escapist vision—a response to the overwhelming changes…

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Special holiday decorations now on view!

December 7, 2015

The Delaware Art Museum Council volunteers created beautiful snowflake designs for this one-of-a-kind installation at the Museum. Cut from donated DuPont Tyvek materials, the snowflakes cascade at the front entrance and in a chandelier near the special exhibition gallery spaces. The Museum Council worked with local artist, designer, and paper florist Malinda Swain on the design for the unique Tyvek chandelier. Malinda has created displays for The Philadelphia Flower Show and Longwood Gardens. The snowflakes will be on display through the end of December. Be sure to stop in to see these amazing designs! To view large images, click below.

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Kids’ Corner gets a new look in 2016

December 4, 2015

We are excited to announce our plans to renovate Kids’ Corner in 2016! As a part of the Museum’s 2015-16 Key Initiatives plan, the Education Department is using funds from the Pollyanna Foundation to renovate and upgrade Kids’ Corner—the family-friendly education space located on the Museum’s lower level. This week we closed Kids’ Corner to begin some minor construction in the space. Over the spring and summer of 2015, we developed an interpretive plan for redesigning the interactive experiences in Kids’ Corner. The new vision aims to bridge art appreciation and art creation through new interpretive experiences focused on storytelling,…

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Of Cats and Cafés

October 29, 2015

One of the most famous cats in popular visual culture is the sinuous yet fierce feline from Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen’s 1896 poster advertising a tour of cabaret entertainers from the Chat Noir in Paris. Easily available today on posters, magnets, and t-shirts, Steinlen’s cat has a colorful history and legacy. The Chat Noir was a café in Montmartre, founded in 1881 by Rodolphe Salis and closed in 1897 when the proprietor died. It was the hangout of radical modern artists and writers, including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Adolphe Willette, Caran d’Ache, André Gill, Paul Verlaine, and Aristide Bruant. Many of the most…

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Now on view in the Brock J. Vinton Galleries

October 28, 2015

Six works of art on the west wall of the Brock J. Vinton Galleries, including a new acquisition, all illustrate different subjects but each one shows the importance of women’s hats at the turn of the 20th century. Women were rarely without a hat – not just out of doors but during social calls and solitary nature excursions – one of the works is actually a satire on women’s foibles in the hat-buying realm! Includes New Acquisition: This cover for St. Nicholas, the most popular American children’s magazine of the early 20th century, features a young man and woman in…

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The Ghost Print

October 15, 2015

Deep in a box in the works-on-paper vault, lies a ghost print, and it may not be the only one. There could be other ghost prints here. Many museums have them in storage. Our ghost print isn’t terrifying, but it is kind of strange. And it’s a perfect entrée into one of my favorite print processes, the monotype. A monotype is a one-of-a-kind image that is painted (often with printer’s ink) onto a smooth flat surface, usually a metal printing plate, and then transferred by pressure onto paper, leaving a reversed image of the original picture. Although the monotype process…

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Conservation of Rafael Ferrer’s Neon Corner

October 13, 2015

In 1971, the Philadelphia-based Makler Gallery commissioned artist Rafael Ferrer to create Neon Corner in an edition of 50, and one was given to the Delaware Art Museum that same year by Dr. and Mrs. Paul Makler. Ferrer had settled in Philadelphia in 1966 and began teaching at the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) in 1967. Ferrer’s activities between 1970 and 1971 were extensive. In January 1970, a solo exhibition was held at Leo Castelli Warehouse in New York; Ferrer’s Deflected Fountain for Marcel Duchamp was on view in May at the Philadelphia Museum of Art;…

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Eo Omwake

October 6, 2015

What made you interested in becoming a painter? I’m not sure what got me started but I remember when I was in second grade the teacher hung a drawing I did on the cork board and it really made me feel good; I felt like I was special somehow. A year later we moved to Chadds Ford next door to the Wyeths. I became best friends with Jamie Wyeth and spent a lot of time in their house. I loved seeing that Andy was a grown-up and still making art. What is your favorite subject matter to paint? I don’t…

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Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos

September 10, 2015

A film by Jonathan Gruber Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos is the 2015 retrospective of the artist’s career by filmmaker Jonathan Gruber. Beerman was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1923 and received her degree from Rhode Island School of Design in 1945. She studied with Morris Kantor at the Arts Students League in New York and with Stanley William Hayter in Paris. Beerman’s neo-expressionist prints and paintings explore the human condition, war, death, and disaster and have been compared to the work of Leonard Baskin. In 2014, the Delaware Art Museum was given its first painting by the artist…

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Spartali Stillman’s Kelmscott Manor: From the Field

August 5, 2015

This fall, the Museum will host the first retrospective of the work of Pre-Raphaelite painter Marie Spartali Stillman, a project that has been eight years in the making. The focus of the exhibition is integral to our own permanent collection, as Samuel Bancroft was a patron of Spartali Stillman’s work. Bancroft’s relationship with her included paying a visit to her home in Surrey and her reciprocal call at Rockford, Bancroft’s home in Delaware. The Bancroft Archives, located in our Helen Farr Sloan Library, include numerous letters exchanged between the two—as well as correspondence with two of her children, Effie and…

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Storyteller-in-Residence Program Introduces Pre-K – Kindergarten Audiences to the Museum

July 24, 2015

In April 2015, the Museum presented a new tour program for regional Pre-K and Kindergarten audiences, Storyteller-in-Residence. Focusing on essential early learning skills and literacy, this free program provided students with a unique opportunity to engage with the Museum by including an interactive storytelling performance inspired by the Museum’s collection, an engaging tour of related works of art in the collection, and creative art-making experiences. Each week, professional storyteller Jeff Hopkins amused students with his one-of-a-kind story featuring a cast of characters from the Museum’s collection such as Crying Giant by Tom Otterness and Hans Brinker by Frank Schoonover. As…

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Kathleen Buckalew

July 22, 2015

What made you interested in becoming a photographer? I’m from Wilmington, Delaware, born and raised! I lived in Washington, DC, for 13 years before returning. I’ve been taking pictures since I was 12 years old, when my godmother gave me an Instamatic camera. I’ve been the family historian ever since. What is your favorite subject or location to photograph? I love photographing a lot of different things: architecture, landscapes, events, portraits, still lifes. I’ve become totally enamored with iPhoneography and using different photo apps. I also do infra-red photography and light painting. I like photographing various local festivals, the Longwood…

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John Sloan’s Newspaper Illustrations

July 21, 2015

This summer The Puzzling World of John Sloan features the artist’s inventive and challenging puzzles for the Philadelphia Press. Produced between 1900 and 1910, these puzzles represent the second half of Sloan’s extraordinary career as a newspaper illustrator—a career that encompassed portraiture, sketches of newsworthy events, story illustrations, full-color designs for the Sunday supplement, and even cartoons. Newspaper work was Sloan’s primary means of support from 1892 to 1904, and the artist rapidly distinguished himself in the field. Like most newspaper illustrators, when he joined the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1892, Sloan was tasked with producing portraits of famous people and…

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Searching for a Moose

July 7, 2015

Among the strangest things I encountered during a works on paper inventory in 2005 was a very elegant, poster-style drawing of a moose, by John Sloan. It looked like a newspaper illustration, but it is a far cry from the clever puzzles and elegant ladies at the seaside that Sloan usually illustrated for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Press in this style. I have wondered for years about what kind of article this accompanied, but the drawing didn’t have a date or inscription to give me a clue. As part of our current inventory and collections database update, I have…

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William Andrew Loomis 1892-1959

May 4, 2015

Visitors to the Museum’s illustration galleries may notice two paintings that seem more “modern” than their companions on the wall. Both were painted in the 1940s, the last years of the Golden Age of American illustration. Created for stories in The Ladies’ Home Journal, they are the work of Andrew Loomis, whose approach to art was distilled in the title of one of his many popular instruction manuals for illustrators: Telling the Story. Besides capturing emotional moments in fiction, each painting also tells the story of how an illustrator’s work was sometimes transformed for its final publication. Here, Loomis captures…

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Museum exceeds Jessie Ball matching gift challenge campaign

April 23, 2015

In spring 2014, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund—one of the Museum’s most loyal supporters—challenged the Museum to raise $75,000. If the Museum met this goal, the Fund promised to make a matching $75,000 donation. But in order to secure the match, donations couldn’t come from just anyone. Eligible gifts had to come from current Museum supporters who had increased their annual giving and made gifts in the $1,000 – $10,000 range. And 32 of the Museum’s loyal donors responded enthusiastically to this challenge by, on average, doubling their annual gifts to the Museum. Collectively, these donors raised approximately $85,000 between…

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The Bretzger Family

April 15, 2015

When Bill Bretzger and Philinda Mindler moved to the area 16 years ago, they joined the Museum almost immediately. Bill and Philinda, who live about a mile from the Museum, first brought their daughter Sascha—now a teen—to the Museum when she was still in an infant carrier. The couple has always enjoyed visiting museums, even before they had kids. But now, says Philinda, “it’s a big part of what we do as a family.” Even though Bill is a busy professional photographer, the family still finds time to visit the Delaware Art Museum. These days, their nine-year-old son, Jamie, is…

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Howard Pyle Murals

April 15, 2015

Over the last two and a half years, conservator Mark Bockrath of Barbara A. Buckley Associates has painstakingly cleaned and conserved the first mural paintings completed by Howard Pyle between 1903 and 1907. This summer the complete set of nine mural panels painted by Howard Pyle for the drawing room of his home at 907 Delaware Avenue in Wilmintgon will be semi-permanently installed in one of the Vinton illustration galleries on the second floor of the Museum. The complete set of murals has not been on public view since the 1930s. Pyle began work on the murals in 1903. His…

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John Sloan: Cats and Dogs

March 31, 2015

John Sloan was a cat person. One of his earliest paintings, Green’s Cats, 1900—a stunning art nouveau composition in black and white—features  the cats-in-residence at Green’s Hotel and Bar, a popular gathering place for the staff of the Philadelphia Press, where he was employed as an illustrator. Black cats stalk through snow in Backyards, Greenwich Village, 1914 (Whitney Museum of American Art), one of his most famous paintings. A grey cat finds a likely mark in Chinese Restaurant, 1907 (Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester), and still more cats surround the bartender in McSorley’s Cats, 1929. Cats were and are a familiar…

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Kate and Sam Mylin

March 31, 2015

Where are you from? KM – I grew up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, in a little town called Hawley near Lake Wallenpaupack. I went to Kutztown University (Kutztown, PA) and moved to Lancaster County in 1989. SM – (my mother, har har) Seriously, I was born in Reading, PA and grew up and lived inWillow Street, PA. What is your teaching philosophy? KM – A child’s work is play. Blooming happens and is fun to encourage. I look at teaching more like guided experiences where I have a project in mind but the individual children bring their bag…

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Connecting with the Community

February 23, 2015

Outreach to the community is an important part of the Education Department’s mission to provide exceptional visual arts education and creative experiences to diverse audiences. Each year, Education staff and volunteers deliver arts education programs offsite to over 1,100 youth and adults at a variety of community organizations throughout the region. Recently, the Education team visited the Chinese School of Delaware (CSD) in Hockessin and created artwork with students to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday. The students’ artwork will be prominently displayed throughout public spaces at the Delaware Art Museum during the annual Chinese New Year Celebration which…

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Generous grant allows the Museum to preserve collection and reduce energy costs

February 9, 2015

This winter, the Delaware Art Museum received a Crystal Trust grant to assist with the costs of installing new LED light bulbs in the Museum’s galleries. This grant allows us to significantly enhance the Museum’s ability to sustain and preserve its art collection for future generations. The major goals of this project are to reduce the environmental impact of the Museum’s facilities, implement cost-saving measures, improve the preservation of the collection, and create an optimal aesthetic experience of the collection. Lighting a painting or object is an important part of the installation and can become very time consuming. LED lighting…

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Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s Salomé

January 28, 2015

On February 7 the Museum opens Oscar Wilde’s Salomé: Illustrating Death and Desire (February 7-May 10, 2015). The genesis for this exhibition was two-fold. Late in 2013 I learned that in February 2015 Opera Philadelphia was presenting Oscar, an opera in two acts written by composer Theodore Morrison from a libretto co-authored with English opera director John Cox which presents the life of Oscar Wilde as he reflects on his time of imprisonment in Reading Goal. The opera was jointly commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Santa Fe Opera and premiered in Santa Fe in July of 2013. It seemed like…

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Bror Thure de Thulstrup

December 9, 2014

In 2006, the Museum received the donation of this illustration signed and dated 1891 by Bror Thule de Thulstrup from a collector who knew a good thing when he saw one. He acquired it even though it lacked any reference to its place and date of publication, a critical bit of information in the history of illustration. Some illustrations have that information inscribed, usually on the reverse, often in a fine, 19th century script. But lacking that, and to complicate matters further, illustrators often created works that were not used immediately, so the date on the work does not necessarily…

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Christmas Card to John and Dolly Sloan

December 9, 2014

Happy Holidays from the Helen Farr Sloan Library and Archives at the Delaware Art Museum! The archives house many delightful holiday greetings from artists, including this charming, hand-painted card that commemorates the friendship between John Sloan and several Native American artists from San Ildefonso Pueblo near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sloan began spending summers in Santa Fe in 1919 and purchased a home there the following year. He was fascinated by the rich cultural heritage of New Mexico, and his encounters with its Native American communities invigorated Sloan’s painting and etching in the 1920s and 1930s. Like a growing group…

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19th-Century American Art galleries reopen to the public November 28

November 25, 2014

The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to unveil its renovated and re-installed 18th- and 19th-century American Art galleries–Galleries 1, 2, and 3–to the public on Friday, November 28 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Just in time for the holiday season, the beautifully redesigned space will display over 50 works of art, including many permanent collection objects that have not been on view for over 10 years. As part of this re-installation, the galleries will highlight 150 years of portraiture, sculpture, landscape painting, still life, and history painting. “I am excited to be able to present our local Wilmington history within the context…

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Jacqueline Jrolf

October 30, 2014

Where are you from? I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I received a BFA from UW-Milwaukee, lived in Italy for a year (Venice and Trevi) and then came to Pennsylvania, where I received my MFA from Tyler School of Art. I’ve been teaching ceramics for 18 years. What is your teaching philosophy? It’s simple: give students the technical information they need to create thought-provoking art and combine that with gentle guidance to help them achieve their goals. What is your favorite class to teach? The Joy of Clay Date: Throwing class is especially fun. The students have developed an esprit de…

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The Wolff Family

October 30, 2014

In early 2014, after visiting the Delaware Art Museum on Free Sundays and attending several Museum events with their friends, Jason and Susanne Wolff decided it was time for a Family Membership for two. Jason and Susanne—along with their daughters, Sophia and Alexis—loved that the Museum was so close to their home and that there were activities that appealed to each of them. The whole family now regularly attends events such as Art is After Dark and the Member Previews. They’ve even made new friends at these events. The Museum has become so integral to the Wolff family’s life that…

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The Museum’s American Art Portraits

October 23, 2014

This fall, the Museum refreshed the galleries dedicated to 18th- and 19th-century American Art. As part of this reinstallation, the first gallery highlights 100 years of portraiture in this region. The contents span 1757 through 1856, and all the portraits were produced within a 50-mile radius of the Delaware Art Museum. Familiar favorites by Benjamin West, Thomas Sully, and the Peales are joined by images of two Delaware women. Five-year-old Anna Walraven (1846–1927) holds a daguerreotype of her family, who had recently relocated from Pennsylvania to open a variety store in Wilmington. The first child of John Harding Walraven and…

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Caryn L. Hetherston

October 8, 2014

Caryn Hetherston is dedicated to making wearable art! As a metalsmithing instructor, Caryn has been sharing this dedication with her students at the Museum for the past six years. As an artist, she is fascinated by the fact that metal is a hard and durable material but can also appear fluid and graceful. She loves to combine precious metal with more humble materials such as wood and rusted iron. In her work, the coolness of silver with a touch of warmth from gold combines with more organic materials to challenge a viewer’s traditional concept of jewelry. Caryn’s favorite tool in…

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Kay and Bryan

October 8, 2014

Living within walking distance of the Delaware Art Museum has its perks. Just ask Kay and Bryan Keenan, who have lived in the neighborhood since 2001. This couple takes advantage of a great variety of the cultural offerings at the Museum each year, all just a quick walk from their home. Kay and Bryan joined as Members of the Museum in 2004, three years after moving to Wilmington from Hockessin. Kay says that by that point, it was a matter of asking themselves, “Why aren’t we already Members?” Bryan agrees, “We realized we couldn’t just continue to rely on Free…

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To Amuse and Interest: Moral and Cautionary Tales for Children from the Collection of the Helen Farr Sloan Library & Archives

August 25, 2014

“When children can read fluently, the difficulty is not to supply them with entertaining books, but to prevent them from reading too much and indiscriminately.  To give them only such as cultivate the moral feelings, and create a taste for knowledge, while they, at the same time, amuse and interest.” ~Richard Lovell Edgeworth, “Address to Mothers,” 1815 Before the middle of the 18th century nearly all children’s books were either purely instructional (spelling books, conduct books) or extremely religious.  Children seeking light and enjoyable reading matter had few choices beyond adult books they adopted as their own. London bookseller John…

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Madonnas of the Prairie: Depictions of Women in the American West

July 29, 2014

LOANS FROM THE ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION to Madonnas of the Prairie: Depictions of Women in the American West at the Panhandle-Plains Historical, Museum, Canyon, Texas (April 12-August 30, 2014) and National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (February 6-May 10, 2015) Now on view at the Panhandle-Plains Historical, Museum, Canyon, Texas, Madonnas of the Prairie encompasses depictions of women in the American West from the late 19thcentury to the present. The Museum’s illustrations by Percy Ivory and Frank Schoonover are focal points of the exhibition’s wide-ranging scope and diverse imagery. Percy Ivory’s demure cowgirl and her apparent suitor, and…

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Larry Holmes: High Watermark on the Teepees

July 2, 2014

Larry Holmes (born 1942) has been an active member of the regional art community since settling in Delaware in the early 1970s. Holmes received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Science degrees from Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1973. Later that year, Holmes joined the faculty of the University of Delaware where he served as the Chair of the Department of Art from 1982 to 1992 and taught painting until retiring in 2004. Throughout his career, Holmes participated in…

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New Acquisitions

June 5, 2014

New Acquisitions Each year, the Delaware Art Museum adds new works of art to the collection through gifts and purchases. The 2013 fiscal year included 61 additions to nearly all areas of the permanent collection—American Illustration, Pre-Raphaelite art, and American art. Katharine Richardson Wireman’s Cover for Collier’s Weekly was generously donated by Robert Lynn Ellis and Melinda Lou Ellis and was featured in the survey exhibition of the artist’s work, “So Beautifully Illustrated” – Katharine Richardson Wireman and the Art of Illustration (October 6, 2012–January 6, 2013). Several works of art entered the Pre-Raphaelite collection, including Henry Wallis’ Timon and…

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Edward Steichen

March 24, 2014

In 1923 famed portrait photographer Edward Steichen became chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair, a position he would keep until 1937. In doing so he entered one of the most prestigious and lucrative photography jobs in the world, bringing a distinctive artistic vision to Condé Nast’s magazines. Trained as a painter, Steichen had turned to photography in the 1890s, initially producing artistically composed, softly focused images that resembled paintings. He became a favorite of publisher, photographer, and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, who featured Steichen’s sensitive portraits of artists and Whistlerian landscapes like The Pond—Moonrise, 1904, in his influential publication Camera…

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New Acquisition by Alice Barber Stephens

March 19, 2014

This illustration is one of eight that Alice Barber Stephens made for a 1905 edition of Louisa May Alcott’s popular children’s novel Under the Lilacs. The illustration is an example of both the artist’s accomplished use of charcoal and her ability to capture the lively essence of a story. The plot centers on the exploits of four children and a neighborhood woman as they encounter various adventures and mysteries one summer. In the drawing, three of the characters are searching for lost dollar bills that they find shredded by mice in a drawer. The illustration captures the just-before-the-discovery moment. The…

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The Museum’s Pre-Raphaelites…

March 7, 2014

The Museum’s Pre-Raphaelites included in National Gallery Exhibition! In August of last year I traveled to London to escort three of our paintings from the Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite art for display at an exhibition at Tate Britain entitled Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde. Because I arrived well before the exhibition opening I was only able to view a few of the pieces which would make up the final display, placed around the exhibition galleries waiting to be installed along with ours. Last week I was able to view the show in its full glory at the National Gallery…

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Ph.D. student Katrina Greene researches 500 prints from the Dr. Charles Lee Reese Collection

February 26, 2014

Mysteries solved. Discoveries made. Inquiries opened. Ph.D. student Katrina Greene has just completed her second internship at the Delaware Art Museum, where she has tackled a variety of projects related to the museum’s collection of American Art.At the Delaware Art Museum, Greene researched many works of art. She compiled a complete conservation record for Raphaelle Peale’s Absalom Jones (1810), allowing museum staff to better understand the history, condition, and conservation requirements of one of the Museum’s most important 19th-century paintings, and she sorted out the complicated story behind the production of Robert Weir’s Indian Captives, Massachusetts 1650 (1840), an earlier version of which is…

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Donated Landseer sketch came from unusual source

January 13, 2014

This engaging fragment of a sketch by the great British animal painter, Edwin Landseer (1802 – 1873), was acquired by the Museum not long after it was made. Surprisingly, it was a gift of the Brandywine School painter John McCoy (1910 – 1989). McCoy’s early life sets him apart from many artists of this period. He was born in California, but moved to Wilmington with his family in 1915 when he was just five years old. Although his interest in art was encouraged by a Wilmington Friends School teacher, his father insisted he obtain a college degree first. Toward the…

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Promised gift of 25 copper and brass objects by William Arthur Smith Benson

January 13, 2014

About two years ago, I received an unexpected phone call from a Washington D.C. architect who was looking to place a collection of metalwork by the Arts and Crafts designer William Arthur Smith Benson (1854 – 1924). He explained that it would be a “promised gift,” meaning it would come to the Museum after his death. He knew of our collection of Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts art from his Delaware relatives, and felt the Delaware Art Museum would provide the right context for his collection. In honor of our centenary celebrations, the donor has allowed us to show these…

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Acquired black and white work by Howard Pyle and engraved woodblock created by J. P. Davis

January 13, 2014

The Museum recently acquired this black and white work by Howard Pyle and the engraved woodblock created by J. P. Davis for its reproduction in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. The gouache is one of three that Pyle created for this article about the coffee houses of New York City, places of political discourse in the late 18th century. Author John Austin Stevens belonged to a class of writer that was diminishing in the 1880s as historians turned increasingly to research rather than to literary models for the writing of history. Primarily a businessman, Stevens developed a deep knowledge of American history,…

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On view in the Sue Ann and John L. Weinberg Galleries

November 26, 2013

ON VIEW IN THE SUE ANN AND JOHN L. WEINBERG GALLERIES December 11, 2013 through c. mid-March 2014 Edward Penfield’s advertising posters for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine have become his most recognized works. Their popularity flourished during the so-called Poster Craze of the 1890s, when boldly-designed colorful posters that advertised publications, merchandise, and public events were considered collectible works of art. To meet the demand, publishers often sold them—sometimes without their advertising lines—both directly and through print dealers. The press of the period printed lively discussions of poster art; books about posters proliferated; museums began to form poster collections; galleries exhibited European…

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Gallery 17 Reinstallation

October 30, 2013

This fall, the contemporary gallery is undergoing a major renovation and reinstallation. Dedicated to the Museum’s holdings of contemporary American art, the gallery offers a representative overview from 1960 to the present. Nearly 400 works of art have been added to the contemporary holdings since the Museum reopened in 2005, necessitating a reorientation of the gallery and the addition of temporary walls to accommodate the expanding collection.Reconfiguring the gallery afforded the chance to delve into the Museum’s holdings, identifying works of art not regularly on view. A focus wall will be dedicated to the display of these works, including the…

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Halloween Puzzle by John Sloan

September 25, 2013

Although best known as a painter of incidents on the streets of New York, John Sloan began his career as a newspaper illustrator in Philadelphia. Starting in 1892 at the Inquirer, Sloan traveled the city and suburbs on assignment from the paper. He was not particularly fast at drawing—his friend Robert Henri joked that Sloan was the past tense of “slow”—but he developed a decorative style that served well for headings, advertisements, and illustrations for fiction and the society pages. His elegant newspaper style drew elements from Japanese prints, French posters, and art nouveau decorations. The stylish illustrations attracted attention, and…

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Now Mr. Dunkus? that wasn’t the right thing to say by Barbara Shermund

August 29, 2013

After her art education in California, 26-year-old Barbara Shermund moved to New York City in 1925, where she began working as a cartoonist and story illustrator. She quickly became one of the first female cartoonists at the newly-founded The New Yorker. Over the next twenty years, she contributed nine covers and hundreds of cartoons to the magazine, usually writing her own captions. Her drawings also appeared in Esquire and LIFE, as well as in books of humor. She regularly exhibited her work in New York galleries, in the company of contemporaries such as James Thurber and historic artists such as Honoré Daumier. In fact,…

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Sarah Wyman Whitman

July 30, 2013

Sarah Wyman Whitman (1842-1904) was a Boston socialite, painter, designer of stained glass, and pioneer in the field of book cover design.  She began her formal art training in 1868, studying first with William Morris Hunt in Boston then with Thomas Couture, Hunt’s former teacher, in France. Though her professional training was brief Hunt considered Whitman to be one of his more gifted students and encouraged her to pursue her dream of becoming a serious artist. Whitman was inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites, particularly Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and became a leading figure in Boston’s Arts and Crafts movement. By the early…

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Mitch Lyons: Clay Monoprints

June 26, 2013

Untitled, c. 1990s Mitch Lyons (born 1938) Clay monoprint, 17 x 37 inches Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2012 © Mitch Lyons Untitled, c. 2000s Mitch Lyons (born 1938) Clay monoprint, 40 x 30 inches Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2012 © Mitch Lyons Untitled, c. 1980s Mitch Lyons (born 1938) Clay monoprint, 27 x 25 inches Delaware Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2012 © Mitch Lyons MITCH LYONS: CLAY MONOPRINTS Mitch Lyons (born 1938) is a well-known and important part of the local art community, who over the past three decades has developed a…

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Red Grooms: Paul Bocuse’s World

May 28, 2013

Paul Bocuse’s World, 1977 Red Grooms (born 1937) Acrylic on canvas with wood frame construction, 106 x 181 x 1 5/8 inches Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Marvin H. Balistocky, 2012 (2012-14) RED GROOMS: PAUL BOCUSE’S WORLD In 2012, Dr. and Mrs. Marvin H. Balistocky generously donated Paul Bocuse’s World, a significant painting by the American artist Red Grooms (born 1937). One of the most important artists of the second half of the 20th century, Grooms was born in Nashville, Tennessee and began studies at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1955. He settled in New York City…

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A New Look for the American Illustration Gallery

April 30, 2013

Sailor’s Fantasy, 1915 N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945) Oil on canvas, 39 1/2 x 31 3/4 inches Special Purchase Fund, 1920 “You can’t leave her here to suffer. Whether you want to or not, you’ll have to do it.”, 1925 Gayle Porter Hoskins (1887-1962) Oil on canvas, 26 x 36 inches Gayle and Alene Hoskins Endowment Fund, 1979 Old Man and Boy with Toy Steam Engine, cover for The Country Gentleman, December 16, 1916 Katharine Richardson Wireman (1878-1966) Oil on illustration board, 24 1/2 x 20 3/8 inches Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Sharon S. Galm, 2011 The Delaware Art Museum’s rich and unique…

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Savoyard Hospitality by Thomas Matthews Rooke

March 7, 2013

This charming image of two female travelers entitled Savoyard Hospitality, by the Pre-Raphaelite artist, Thomas Matthews Rooke (1842-1942), is a recent gift to the Museum. Rooke, who worked primarily in watercolor, received his early training at the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. At age 29 he applied for a job at William Morris and Company and was shortly thereafter assigned to assist the painter, Edward Burne-Jones in his studio. Rooke acted as the older artist’s studio assistant until his death. The two developed a close working relationship with Burne-Jones endearingly referring to his assistant as “Little Rooke” or…

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Gertrude Kasebier

February 20, 2013

In 1907, Everett Shinn sent John Sloan a postcard that reads: “Was up to be photographed today, great fun, being an artist, with temperament.” This quick note, illustrated with a spontaneous sketch, is one of my favorite items at the Museum. Yet it is just the sort of treasure—small, light-sensitive, and requiring curatorial explication—that usually remains in storage. The tale behind this off-hand sketch provided the inspiration for the exhibition Gertrude Käsebier’s Photographs of the Eight: Portraits for Promotion, which is on view through July 7, 2013. The postcard to Sloan memorialized a photo-session, endured by Shinn, with the New York…

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David C. Driskell: Scholar, Curator, Artist

February 6, 2013

As we began celebrating Black History Month, I had the opportunity to research some fascinating works of art in the Museum’s collection by leading African American artists. One notable artist is David C. Driskell (born 1931), who devoted his career to the study and presentation of African American art. Driskell was raised in North Carolina and enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1950. His studies continued at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and he obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from Catholic University. Driskell found his initial impact on the field was in…

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Christ leads the Blind Man out of Bethsaida by Frederic James Shields

January 17, 2013

Late in 2011, the Museum had the opportunity to purchase this watercolor of the Blind Man of Bethsaida by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Frederic Shields (1833–1911).  Shields was born in Hartlepool, in northeastern England, but spent most of his working life in Manchester and London.  The premature death of his father left him responsible for the support of his mother and siblings at a young age. His autobiography describes acute poverty and periods of semi-starvation—circumstances that deeply influenced his life-long religious piety.  His artistic training was limited to apprenticeships in the commercial engraving industry and evening art classes in Manchester and London. Shields’…

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The Dreamer by Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones

December 17, 2012

Visiting the stellar drawings show, Mantegna to Matisse: Master Drawings from the Courtauld Gallery at the Frick Collection recently, I was struck, as most visitors are, by Michelangelo’s The Dream (c.1533)—one of the most significant drawings by the Renaissance master. The central figure is a glorious male nude, his muscles articulated in confident strokes of black chalk. He is visited by a winged figure that descends to wake the man from a vivid dream, represented by vignettes of the seven deadly sins that encircle the central pair. Though freighted with complex iconography, Michelangelo’s drawing perfectly conveys the experience of dreaming and the half-remembered visions…

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“Wreck in the Offing!” – Scene in a Life-saving Station by Howard Pyle

December 4, 2012

“Wreck in the Offing!” – Scene in a Life-saving Station,” 1878, forHarper’s Weekly, March 9, 1878 Howard Pyle (1853-1911) Gouache on paper, 14 3/4 x 21 1/8 inches Gayle and Alene Hoskins Endowment Fund, 1984 This illustration is on loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the exhibition Shipwreck! Winslow Homer and The Life Linethrough January 1, 2013. It is one of 78 works of art and artifacts that provided a context for Winslow Homer’s painting The Life Line(1884; Philadelphia Museum of Art), a scene of a rescue at sea.  It also provided a turning point in Howard Pyle’s career. The scene is…

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Delaware Remembers Sculptor Charles Parks

November 8, 2012

Beloved local sculptor Charles Parks received numerous national awards and commissions, and his work is in public and private collections around the country. Locally his work can be seen outdoors at the University of Delaware and at Brandywine Park. In 2011 the State of Delaware received his collection of approximately 290 lifetime works. The artist is also well represented in the collection of the Delaware Art Museum. The earliest of seven works spanning the artist’s long and productive career, Standing Figure is on view in Gallery 16 to honor the passing of Parks. This carved walnut statue is a very early example…

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Thomas Eakins Seated Cross Legged with His Palette by Samuel Murray

October 25, 2012

Thomas Eakins Seated Cross Legged with His Palette, 1907, cast 1909 Samuel Murray (1869–1941) Plaster, metal and wood, 9 1/2 x 9 5/8 x 8 3/4 inches Gift of Dr. Christine I. Oaklander in memory of Dr. William Innes Homer, a superb teacher and scholar of American art, 2012 In 1886, 17-year-old Samuel Murray began to study art with the painter Thomas Eakins (1844–1916) at the newly founded Art Students League of Philadelphia. The League had been started by a group of Eakins’ pupils who followed him from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, from which he had been fired…

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Edward Hopper’s Summertime

October 11, 2012

Summertime, 1943 Edward Hopper (1882–1967) Oil on canvas 29 1/8 x 44 inches Gift of Dora Sexton Brown, 1962 Marking the end of the season, Edward Hopper’s Summertime has gone off view at the Delaware Art Museum. The painting is in Paris for a major retrospective exhibition that opens October 10 at the Grand Palais. Summertime joins Hopper’s most famous painting Nighthawks (1942, Art Institute of Chicago) and many others, as well as early illustrations, watercolors, and etchings. In the first section of the exhibition, devoted to Hopper’s development and early years, Hopper’s own works are joined by those that influenced him, including works by American artists…

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William Zorach: Moonlight

September 27, 2012

Modern Art to my generation was a spiritual awaking, a freeing of Art from the idea of copying Nature. We entered into a whole new world of form and color that opened up before us. —William Zorach, 1931 In the early 20th century, William Zorach was in the vanguard of American art. His paintings, prints, and sculptures reflected his interest in European modernist art. With its vivid color and stylized, angular forms, Moonlight is a perfect example—a fusion of Fauvism and Cubism, inflected with the artist’s own decorative sensibility. Zorach discovered modern art with the help of his wife, the artist Marguerite Zorach…

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Toshiko Takaezu: Closed Forms

September 13, 2012

Pink Lady #1, 1989 Toshiko Takaezu (1922?2011) Stoneware, 16 x 9 x 9 inches Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Toshiko Takaezu, 2009 Untitled (Moon Pot), 2006 Toshiko Takaezu (1922?2011) Stoneware, 22 x 22 x 22 inches Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Toshiko Takaezu, 2009 Untitled, c. 1997 Toshiko Takaezu (1922?2011) Stoneware, 28 ? x 11 x 11 inches Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Toshiko Takaezu, 2009 TOSHIKO TAKAEZU: CLOSED FORMS An innovator in the field of contemporary ceramics, Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011) was born in Hawaii in 1922. She left the island in 1951 to study ceramics and weaving at Cranbrook Academy of Art…

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