Chronology of the Delaware Art Museum – 1912-1959

1912-1959 | 1960-19791980-2009

1912 An-Attack-on-A-Galleon Incorporation of the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts.

Howard Pyle
An Attack on a Galleon
Illustration for “The Fate of a Treasure Town,” by Howard Pyle
Harper’s Monthly Magazine, December 1905
Oil on canvas
Delaware Art Museum Purchase, 1912
DAM #983

1923 The Society acquires a “home” in the new Wilmington Institute Free Library Building at 10th and Market Streets facing Rodney Square.Contemporary Sculpture exhibition held at the Wilmington Free Institute Library Building, Spring 1936

1935 The Society receives the Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, which includes a plot of land on the Park Drive (now called Kentmere Parkway) for a museum site.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Found, begun 1859
Oil on canvas
Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935
DAM #1935-27

1938 The original Delaware Art Center building, designed by Samuel Homsey and G. Morris Whiteside, opens to the public with galleries devoted to the English Pre-Raphaelites, Howard Pyle and his students, and a growing collection of American art beyond illustration.Delaware Art Center building during the final stages of construction, 1938

1940 The Society receives two significant additions to the permanent collection: the bequest of Dr. Charles L. Reese Collection of more than 400 etchings and other prints; and The Mermaid, the last easel painting by Howard Pyle.

Howard Pyle
The Mermaid, 1910
Oil on canvas
Gift of the children of Howard Pyle in memory of their mother, Anne Poole Pyle, 1940
DAM #3324

1943 The Wilmington Academy of Art joins with the Delaware Art Center in 1943 to establish the Art Center’s first educational programs and by 1954 nearly 500 students a year from across Delaware were taking part in a wide variety of studio art courses.Students attending art class, 1943

1954 The Society receives a gift of $300,000 from a trust fund set up under the will of H. Fletcher Brown for the purpose of building a wing, “adjacent to and connected with” the present Art Center building, to provide adequate space for the expanding Educational Program.The Art Center develops State-wide programs

1956 H. Fletcher Brown Wing officially opens on October 7.Architectural rendering of North elevation of the H. Fletcher Brown Wing, 1956

1958 The ‘Friends of Art’ is founded, bringing many of the Museum’s “stars” into the collections, including premier paintings by Frederic Edwin Church and Winslow Homer. Increasingly, collectors recognize the Museum as an appropriate home for American masterpieces, and donations of work by such masters as Thomas Eakins, George Luks, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth widen the collections’ survey of the American 19th and 20th centuries.

1912-1959 | 1960-19791980-2009

return to top