Thursday, October 28, 2010

Howard Pyle and Boutet de Monvel

Jeff Menges just blogged about Boutet de Monvel and somehow - yet not unexpectedly - it conjured up thoughts of Howard Pyle. Stylistically, the two artists seem to have had little in common, but they shared a love of bold composition and strong design. It’s interesting to compare how Pyle and Boutet de Monvel depicted the same scene from the story of Joan of Arc.

Pyle was certainly aware of the Frenchman and they may even have become personally acquainted when the latter visited America in connection with an exhibition of his pictures at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, held March 24 to April 6, 1899. In a letter to their mutual friend, Robert Underwood Johnson, Pyle wrote:
I hope I may have the pleasure of meeting M. Boutet de Monvel when he is in Philadelphia, but I doubt if it be much to his pleasure, as it would, in a certain sense, be to my embarrassment - for I do not speak his language. The impossibility of inter-communication of thoughts and ideas is always distressing to me.
Did Pyle overcome his anxieties and meet his fellow artist? I don’t yet know.

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