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Delaware Art Museum Wilmington Delaware

After 50 Years The Delaware Art Museum Mounts Black Art

Where In Wilmington – Delaware Art Museum – March 2008

The Delaware Art Museum confronts its racist history by mounting an exhibition it rejected 50 years ago, along with many others.

In 1971, artist and educator Percy Ricks set out to assemble and exhibit the best paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs created by the most talented Black artists working in Wilmington. It would not be a political exhibition, although racial tension was still palpable in the wake of the 1968 riots and National Guard occupation of the city following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rather, Afro-American Images 1971 would pay homage to the creative prowess of the artists who were working in this productive place and time.

Ricks, founder of the nonprofit artist collective Aesthetic Dynamics Inc., put in a call to the Delaware Art Museum , the logical venue to mount such an exhibition. Black art was appearing to have a breakthrough year, as the venerable Whitney Museum of American Art in New York was opening Contemporary Black Artists in America.

Back in Delaware, however, no one answered Ricks call.

He reached out to the museum in 1971, and no one responded, says Margaret Winslow, the current curator of contemporary art at the institution. He wanted to partner with the museum. He wanted to host the exhibition here, and he received silence.

The hunt did lead to many fruitful connections, such as with artist Cliff Eubanks and the family of Earl Wilkie, both in Philadelphia.

The Best 10 Art Museums In Wilmington De

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  • The Delaware Art Museum Was Founded As A Tribute To The Guy Who Invented The Stereotypical Pirate Garb

    His name was Howard Pyle and he is the original illustrator of what was to become Johnny Depps Captain Jack Sparrow, for which we are forever grateful. This may have been reason enough to create a museum in his honor, but Howard Pyle was also the author of The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and a prolific illustrator and teacher. He was so good that a contemporary of his, Vincent Van Gogh, said that his work struck dumb with admiration.” He was so beloved in his community in Delaware that all of his students, friends, and family got together and decided that they had to do something for the man. So they created the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts and got together enough money to buy a bunch of Pyles illustrations from his widow. This collection was built upon for years and years and included art from Delawarians, students of Pyle, and works of Old Masters, French Impressionists, American antiques, and Russian paintings. It was going well right up until it started going great.

    Another donor to the museum was Helen Farr Sloan, the widow of American Ashcan School artist, John Sloan. Helen was so impressed by the museum when she visited in 1960, that when her husband died, she donated over 5,000 of his works to the museum. So now on top of being a preeminent establishment for the work of Howard Pyle and the Pre-Raphaelites, it is also the largest collection of works by John Sloan. Go Delaware!

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    Five Art Museums To Visit In Greater Wilmington Delaware

    From museums that celebrate the works of local icons to studios where you can find the artists of tomorrow skillfully honing their crafts, Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley is an absolute haven for all art lovers.

    Delaware Art MuseumThe roots of the Delaware Art Museum trace all the way back to the founding of the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts in 1912. Its mission, to preserve and exhibit the works of Howard Pyle, the Wilmington, Delaware native, illustrator and teacher. Pyle, who was often referred to as the father of modern illustration may be best known for his illustrative works such as The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and King Author as well as his may illustrations and depictions of pirates.

    Today, the Delaware Art Museum regularly exhibits works from their collection of over 100 Howard Pyle works of art alongside the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite art outside the British Isles, a collection of urban landscapes by John Sloan, and a number of works from Pyles students, including N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Frank E. Schoonover and other famous illustrators. The museum also features a sculpture garden and regularly changing travelling exhibits.

    The campus of the Brandywine River Museum of Art is beautiful set along the flow of the Brandywine River, and offers guests the opportunity to visit both N.C. Wyeths house and studio as well as Andrew Wyeths studio and the inspirational Kuerner Farm.

    Years After Shunning Black Artists Delaware Art Museum Looks To Atone For Its Institutional Racism

    Delaware Art Museum

    Pool Room 11th & Walnut, an oil on canvas painting by Wilmington’s Edward Loper Jr., is in the exhibit.

    A half-century ago, when Wilmington artist and educator Percy Ricks was putting together a major exhibit of work by Black artists, he reached out to the Delaware Art Museum for its support and a venue to showcase the work.

    The ambitious show featured 130 pieces drawings, prints, photographs, paintings, and sculpture by 66 African American artists, including some with national recognition such as collagist Romare Bearden and painter-sculptor Faith Ringgold and others with local ties, such as Wilmingtonians Edward Loper Sr. and his son Edward Loper Jr.

    Ricks didnt even receive a response from the states premier art institution.

    Only silence.

    The 1971 exhibition went on, however, albeit at the less-illustrious Wilmington Armory in Wilmingtons Little Italy neighborhood. The show was a relative success during its three-week run, drawing about 7,000 people, mostly students from area school and colleges, recalls James E. Newton, a professor emeritus of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware.

    But Newton, who was then an assistant to Ricks at his multiracial artist collective, Aesthetic Dynamics, told WHYY News this week that the snub by the art museum stunned and rankled Ricks, who was putting on his first exhibit.

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    Explore Museums And Galleries Of Art Antiques Industry And More

    The beauty of the Brandywine Valley has captured the imagination of generations of artists, from American masters to contemporary craftsmen.

    Several masterpieces of Brandywine Valley native Andrew Wyeth hang inside the halls of the Brandywine River Museum of Art, while The Delaware Art Museum is renown for its collection of American art and illustrations featuring Wilmington-born Howard Pyle, as well as its exquisite and extensive collection of English pre-Raphaelite paintings. Down on the Riverfront, The Delaware Contemporary stays up-to-the-minute with ever-changing displays and exhibits of new work by emerging artists. In fact, the area boasts so many working artists that both Wilmington and Kennett Square host popular gallery events on the first Friday of every month, the Art Loop in Wilmington and the Art Stroll in Kennett.

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    Frequently Asked Questions And Answers

    What are people saying about art museums in Wilmington, DE?

    This is a review for art museums in Wilmington, DE:

    “I recently spent a lovely Sunday afternoon wandering the galleries at Delaware Art Museum. This is a wonderful museum and a real treasure in the Brandywine Valley. I particularly enjoyed the museum’s collection of early to mid century illustrations and their Ashcan School holdings. On this recent visit, I spent the bulk of my time enjoying the illustration galleries and the Chihuly installation at the entrance. There is a cafe in the museum, as well as a nicely-stocked gift shop. The museum has free admission on Sundays.”

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