Saturday, December 21, 2013

Howard Pyle Brokaw (1916-2013)

I just learned that Howard Pyle’s oldest surviving grandson, Howard Pyle Brokaw, passed away. I’ll collect my thoughts and write more about him soon, but for now here is a brief obituary.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Howard Pyle on Rome

Michelangelo’s Moses in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

“As for Rome, I hate it,” wrote an ailing Howard Pyle to Stanley Arthurs on December 16, 1910. “I was in my room all the time but twice, and when I went out then I saw the Roman ruins, and not St. Peter’s and the great pictures and statues. The Moses was the only thing I saw. As for the Roman ruins, they are without shape, weather-worn, and channelled by the rivulets of centuries of rain. They are black in some places and white in others, and are, I think, ugly and disagreeable. I saw nothing beautiful in them, but only the weather-worn remnants of a past and forgotten age.”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Howard Pyle in Wisconsin

“I feel very much gratified indeed that my pictures should attract such favorable attention in Green Bay. They seem to have been a great deal cared for in the West and I do not think that they have anywhere met with a warmer reception then they have with you…”
—Howard Pyle to Deborah B. Martin, June 11, 1904

For those of you lucky enough to find yourselves in Wisconsin this winter, a major exhibit of Howard Pyle’s works will be on view from December 2, 2013, to February 7, 2014, at the Bush Art Center of St. Norbert College in De Pere, just outside of Green Bay.

On view will be some twenty-two original paintings that were acquired in the early 1900s by the Kellogg Public Library (later known as the Brown County Library), but which have since been purchased by the Green Bay and De Pere Antiquarian Society.

This is the largest collection of Pyle paintings west of the Mississippi - or the Susquehanna, for that matter. And the history of how it got there is interesting, if rocky, and involved lots of letter-writing, hand-wringing, and a lawsuit. But it ended well, since Pyle’s pictures illustrating Woodrow Wilson’s “Colonies and Nation” were kept almost all together as a set (a few from the series had been sold prior to their journey to Wisconsin in 1904) - as were those for his “Travels of the Soul.” (Pyle, by the way, made a special trip to Green Bay in 1905.)

So, go see the show! I only wish I could.