This is a series of large-scale illustrations that will be installed in the entrance hall of the Delaware Art Museum in July 2018. Working with Amelia Wiggins, the museum's Manager of Gallery Learning and Interpretation, and Keith Ragone, the museum's Exhibition Designer, I created six images that accompany written copy to welcome visitors and explain the museum's history, significant collections, and contemporary programing. I loved the museum's idea of using contemporary illustration for the entrance hall (rather than sepia-toned photos), because the museum was founded in 1912 to house the work of American Illustration icon Howard Pyle. Since then, it has expanded to become a significant institution of 19th-20th Century American illustration. This project was a joy and an honor to work on!
This illustration portrays Howard Pyle's painting class in Wilmington, Delaware at the turn of the 20th century. Pyle's classes were co-ed, and a generation of prominent female illustrators from the "Golden Age of Illustration" studied with Pyle. This includes Eleanor Abbott, Ethel Franklin Betts, Anna Whelan Betts, Violet Oakley, Ellen Bernard Thompson Pyle, Olive Rush, Elizabeth Shippen Green, Jessie Willcox Smith, and Charlotte Harding. N.C. Wyeth, who would become a major figure in the history of illustration, was also a student. Pyle himself is considered one of the founders of the American illustration style and is credited for inventing and introducing in the public imagination the stereotypical pirate costume/ look that continues to the present day, (but has no basis in reality). The museum houses a vast collection of Pyle's work, in addition to work by his students and famous disciples.
This image highlights the Delaware Art Museum's extensive pre-Raphaelite collection, which the museum is also renowned for. Lady Lilith, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti is a consistent favorite of visitors.
The museum also has a fantastic collection of paintings from the "Ashcan School" and "The Eight" movements. These movements of the late 19th/early 20th century, which were comprised of artists whose work blurred the boundaries of illustration and fine art, captured scenes of daily life in New York City. Their visual journalism captured urban life in its many forms and conditions, which was a break from traditional, idealized landscape painting at the time. In this image John Sloan, Robert Henri and Maurice Prendergast go searching for compositions to paint.
This image represents the Delaware Art Museum's contemporary collection. I chose work I admire by Sonya Clark, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Margo Allman, and Larry Holmes to highlight. On the sides of the illustration (one in a separate gallery and one upstairs) I also included two of my favorite images from two of the museum's other collections- one by Maginel Wright Barney and one by James Van Der Zee.
Finally, here is an illustration representing the Delaware Art Museum's family and youth programming. I look forward to sharing photos of all of the illustrations installed in entrance hall when they go up next month.