Exhibition Showcases Retrospective of Golden Age Illustrator's Work

Article excerpt

"HOWARD PYLE: American Master Rediscovered" is on view through Oct. 28 at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Mass. The exhibition showcases 79 original paintings and drawings created by Pyle between 1876-1910, on loan from the Delaware Art Museum, which was founded in 1912 to preserve and exhibit Pyle's work following his death. The exhibit presents a fresh perspective on Pyle's imagery, exploring his interaction with the art and culture of the 19th century.

The exhibition is broken into three parts to illustrate the themes related to Pyle's work. Visions of the Past concentrates on Pyle's depictions of history, including Roman gladiators and medieval knights. His views of the classical world drew inspiration from the work of the French academic artist Jean-Leon Gerome and his numerous depictions of the Middle Ages show how conversant Pyle was with the works of the 19th-century Pre-Raphaelites.

Pyle's pirate imagery is based on his own personal archive of costume books and historic manuscripts; however, his use of strong diagonals, flat compositional arrangements, and restrained placement of color suggests an understanding of the art world's new-found interest in Japanese ukiyoe prints. …