Monday, June 24, 2013

Howard Pyle’s Don Quixote

Many of Howard Pyle’s pictures are well-documented. Some, not so much. For example, correspondence concerning the creation of “The Fate of a Treasure Town” series of pirate paintings - among the most notable of Pyle’s later works - has yet to surface.

The same - or even less - can be said of Pyle’s sole known illustration of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. In fact, the only documentation that I’ve seen are its entries in the two Pyle bibliographies and a note in the Pyle scrapbook at the Delaware Art Museum stating - rather vaguely - that the original painting was sold in Philadelphia. When or to whom it was sold is not indicated and the original has yet to turn up, so we don’t know its size, its palette, or anything else. One day, maybe.

Until then, here is Howard Pyle’s “Don Quixote’s Encounter with the Windmill” as it appeared in the November 1901 issue of The Century Magazine, part of a special feature titled “Three Pictures of Don Quixote” (the other two were by Arthur I. Keller and André Castaigne). Engraver Frank H. Wellington sweetened the 7.6 x 5.0" duotone plate, which, unfortunately, was printed out of register.

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