Horace Pippin’s work Interior (also known as Interior of Cabin) from 1944 is one of more than 65 paintings on view this summer at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer P. Potamkin in honor of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, 1991)
In the art-rich Philadelphia region, landmark exhibitions have a home in galleries well beyond Center City.
In the bucolic Brandywine Valley — home to wine trails, rolling hills, the Brandywine Battlefield and more — the Brandywine River Museum of Art houses an outstanding collection of American art in a renovated 1864 grist mill.
Since its founding, the museum’s collection has grown to include more than 2,500 landscapes, still lifes, genre paintings, and illustrations from hundreds of 19th- and 20th-century American artists — including one of the leading representatives of 20th-century art: Horace Pippin (1888-1946).
This spring, the Brandywine River Museum of Art exhibits a landmark show and serves as the only venue in the country to take in a remarkable look at Pippin’s body of work.
In the first major exhibition of the artist’s works in the country in more than two decades, Horace Pippin: The Way I See It features more than 65 bold paintings that reflect life in the African-American community and comment on race, religion, war and history.
Opening Saturday, April 25, the exhibition will remain on view throughout the summer, closing on July 19.
Read on for more on this landmark show.
Organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art, The Way I See It explores the depths of Pippin’s colorful and expressive paintings, most of which are highly personal and depict realistic scenes of family life, history, religion and conflict.
Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania — just 10 miles from where the Brandywine River Museum of Art is now located — after growing up in New York and serving in World War I as part of the renowned African-American regiment known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” Pippin returned to West Chester with a disability in his right arm and, with a persevering spirit, taught himself to paint.
Though he painted privately for much of the 1930s, by 1937, his work had garnered early support locally from N.C. Wyeth and art critic Christian Brinton, and Pippin saw broad recognition in the art world thanks to his bold style, which was described in his time as “primitive” or “folk.”
The Way I See It includes works from multiple collections and such seminal works as Harmonizing and Interior (also known as Interior of Cabin), both painted in 1944, and John Brown Going to His Hanging from 1942, which is on loan from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
The Brandywine River Museum of Art’s exhibition reveals Pippin as an artist who upheld his own aesthetic sensibility while addressing larger social issues, and provides an in-depth look at this impactful canon of work.
The Brandywine River Museum of Art shows a sweeping exhibition of the work of Horace Pippin this year, including this seminal work Harmonizing. (Image courtesy Brandywine River Museum of Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio)
For more on The Way I See It, see below. (more…)