Monday, April 16, 2012

THE PRINCE OF EMPOWERMENT




Howard Pyle and daughter Phoebe (Johnston)
Photographer: Frances Benjamin Johnston
Source: Frances Benjamin Johnston
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
From WIKIPEDIA


Howard Pyle (1853-1911) came to New York from Wilmington, Delaware, in 1873. He arrived at the right time and instinctively recognized the power of pictures for everyone," says Pyle's biographer, Henry Pitz. Beyond his success in magazine and book illustration Pyle had a large influence on a generation of American artists. His students included N.C. Wyeth, Violet Oakley, Harvey Dunn, Stanley Arthurs, Frank Schoonover and many others. No Pyle student ever forgot him, nor could they ever stop quoting him. What were the qualities that made him the prince of empowerment? What was his advice that might be of value to some painters today?
- Develop a sense of history.
- Seek your training close to home.
- Respect books, picture-books and reading.
- Engage in writing as a parallel skill.
- Research your interests thoroughly.
- Seek truth and correctness in settings.
- Put in time to get your drawing right.
- Sketch first to find the focal center.
- Be vigorous and stand up to work.
- Commit to the highest of possibilities.
- See the drama and theatre in your subjects.
- Depict basic emotions--grief, pride, greed, etc.
- Look for new ways to see and tell a story.
- Don't let reality destroy your imagination.
- Be an eyewitness to vivid experiences.
- Simplify compositions and waste little.
- Don't ask opinions from those you don't respect.
- Be idealistic in your life and picture making.
- Be willing to share and pass the torch.
- Be willing to mentor and teach without fee.
( Robert at painterskeys.com)
The “Golden Age of Illustration” began with Howard Pyle (considered by many to be “the father of American illustration”). He started his Brandywine School of Art and Illustration right around 1900. Pyle schooled his artists in the classical traditions of art. He taught drawing, values, edges and design as well as the necessary theories and techniques of illustration. After all, the primary objective was to train visual storytellers. And boy, could these guys tell stories with their paints! They had to cull significant passages from the literature they were given, and then translate those passages into living, visual moments for the reader. They worked under horrific deadlines, and, nonetheless, were able to craft large canvasses that were carefully designed to impart the greatest visual impact, while having to pay strict attention to the layout of the book or periodical. They frequently worked from live models and used their personal collection of artifacts that were germane to each particular rendering.
(enpleinairpro.com)

The Nation Makers
From Braian Yoder’s GoodArt gallery at goodart.org


The Nation Makers, the image and title seem to inspire everything from thoughtful consideration to reverent devotion on various blogs and web sites. It’s not as though this was the only illustration of a revolutionary war subject that Pyle ever painted: between 1877 and 1903 he produced over 85 other illustrations of revolutionary war subjects. So what is it about this painting that stimulates such interest? While Pyle illustrated many different types of stories, his personal favorite were those on the colonial past and the war for independence. One of his students quoted him as saying, “Colonial life appeals so strongly to me that to come across things that have been handed down from that time fills me with a feeling akin to homesickness . . . and my friends tell me that my pictures look as tho’ I had lived in that time.” So in some measure, a kindred feeling for that past motivated all of his images about that time. This painting is rather simple: it depicts a line of soldiers in tattered clothing and bandages marching forward through a field of grass and wild flowers. Bloodied, they do not hesitate. The picture’s action takes place just after the troop has come over the slight crest of a hill. The line of troops surges forward in an implied diagonal across the painting’s surface that runs from the lower right of the painting across to the upper left of the canvas rendering an image of forceful action. Just behind the front line of the troop, more individuals and horses fill the space and an outstretched open hand is silhouetted against the sky. The tattered and shredded stars and bars on its staff stands out, carried behind the troop’s leader directing the charge.  Pyle’s painting of individualized faces reminds us that he used his students dressed in appropriate period costumes as models for his work. Pyle’s summer school classes were held in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania near where the Battle of the Brandywine was fought on September 11, 1777, when 3,000 soldiers lost their lives.
While The Nation Makers is an image of a mass of humanity surging forward, that mass is composed of identifiable individuals, as in all wars and battles. None of these individuals turn and looking out at us the viewers, instead they are all moving forward into their future. This painting is unique. Of all the revolutionary war battle images Pyle made, this is the only one he produced without a specific story to interpret and when he did sell it as an illustration, it was not until three years after its creation and then it was published without a story. This might have been understandable if Collier’s had published it in a July 4th issue or a June 14th Flag Day issue when a patriotic focus was expected; instead it was brought out in the June 2nd issue of 1906. The delay between creation and publication was due in part to the painting being included in Pyle’s December 1903 special exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, where it was one of 110 art works shown.
( Joyce K. Schiller, Curator, Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, Norman Rockwell Museum)


Portrait of the Writer, Oliver Wendell Holmes
From sightswithin.com


The Battle of Nashville
Governor's Reception Room
Minnesota State Capitol, Saint Paul
From stephengjertsongalleries.com


The sense of movement in Pyle's painting is achieved through the masterful integration of design and gesture. The eye is first attracted to the picturesque silhouette of flags and soldiers against the billowing smoke in the middle distance. From the right flag, the eye swoops down to the tattered flag on the left. The white head bandage then pulls the eye to the group of soldiers on the far right. Their forward movement to the left is picked up by the line of light under the mass of soldiers and thrust into the center of the fray between the broken Union line. The gestures of the soldiers on the left keep the eye from leaving the painting and lead you into the center of the action. The rhythmic repetition of lines and gestures in the soldiers rushing toward the left contrasts with the carefully placed diagonals of the muskets. These lead the eye around the corners of the canvas and back toward the main group of figures under the right flag. From here, the line of soldiers on the right again sweeps the eye around the bottom of the canvas to the breach, where it continues up the hill in an elaborate circular movement back to the center of interest.
(Stephen Gjertson at stephengjertsongalleries.com)


Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
From gutenberg.org


CAPTAIN KEITT Book of Pirates Cover
From gutenberg.org


CAPTAIN KEITT
From gutenberg.org


Book of Pirates
Attack on a Galleon
Delaware Art Museum's collection
From Braian Yoder’s GoodArt gallery at goodart.org


Book of Pirates
Attack on a Galleon
Posted by RC at raggedclaws.com


A marooned pirate
Delaware Art Museum
From vocmaps.com


Life on board of a Company’s ship was far from pleasant. The cramped conditions of the relatively large crew (upwards of 300 men was common) in a small and confined space for a long journey made the need for clear rules and harsh sanctions obvious. The crew was informed of the behavior that was expected from them as soon as they boarded the ship. Insubordination was punished in accordance to the severity of the offence. Light offences such as cursing, inebriety, relieving oneself in inappropriate places and throwing food overboard, were resolved with fines. These often tallied to a few months’ worth of pay, and were held back from a sailor’s paycheck once he completed his contract. Slightly more severe punishments consisted of being thrown in the ship’s brig for a short amount of time or being shackled. The most inconvenient part of this type of punishment was that the perpetrator was also put on a severe ration (which was really bad when meals were already pretty scarce, as often happened). Younger crewmembers (greenhorns) could expect being whipped with a small length of rope by their older superiors when they messed up their duties. This small ‘flick of the wrist’ was not comparable to the more serious flagellation that was administered to disobedient sailors. Whips, sticks, and ropes with knots – the potential torture devices on board a ship were numerous. A sentence could easily go from light to severe just by increasing the number of hits. Another severe form of corporal punishment was branding the offender with a hot iron, though this was more commonly applied on navy ships than on those of the VOC. There was a special kind of punishment administered to someone who drew his knife on one of his fellow crewmembers. Everybody on board had a knife; it was the essential tool for almost everything they did. When frustrations between sailors peaked, it could go sour quite easily if one used their knife in the fight. Therefore there was a need to place such a heavy sanction to decrease the motivation to result to such measures. If the offender only threatened another with his knife the punishment was surmountable. He was nailed to the mast with his own knife driven through his hand. He was pinned down in this fashion until he could remove the knife himself – no one else was allowed to help.
In later centuries the punishment was somewhat less harsh; a doctor’s lancet was used to pierce the webbing between the fingers. If the sailor who pulled his knife actually wounded somebody he was not so ‘lucky’. Keelhauling was administered in such a case, and this was one of the most gruesome punishments used. An invention of the Dutch navy first recorded in the sixteenth century, keelhauling meant dropping a man into the sea, then hauling him under the keel of the ship with a rope. Barnacles on the keel would cut his skin to shreds and there was the very real possibility of drowning. Maybe not as spectacular as pinning someone to the mast with a knife, but often much more deadly, was banishment from the ship. In cases such as mutiny, the dissident was taken to land with a Hangman’s noose around his neck. He sat on the prow of a sloop with his legs already overboard. When the rowers hit bottom with their oars, the sailor was kicked hard from the prow and swam to shore. His former comrades rowed back to the ship, wishing him the best of luck. This punishment often resulted in death – either the offender starved or was killed by locals. Death sentences were carried out by simple hanging or by throwing the criminal overboard. In the case of murder, the murderer and the dead man’s body were tied together before being thrown out to sea.
(vocmaps.com)


North-Folk Legends
Published in Harper’s Journal 1903
From illustrationlife.com


The Flying Dutchman
Published in Harper’s Journal 1903
From illustrationlife.com


Travels of the soul
Published 1902 in Century Magazine
From illustrationlife.com


Travels of the soul
Published 1902 in Century Magazine
From illustrationlife.com


Howard Pyle, legend of the golden age children’s book era, painted many different subjects. He is most famous for his Pirates, but if you overlook his other work, you will not have a full appreciation for his amazing work. Above are images from his less known work, published in different story journals of his day.
(simonj at illustrationlife.com)


The Story of King Arthur and His Knights
From raggedclaws.com


The Story of King Arthur and His Knights
From raggedclaws.com


Howard Pyle’s illustrations for his 1903 book, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, were among the finest pen-and-ink illustrations of his career, which, of course, makes them some of the finest pen-and-ink illustrations of all time.
( RC at raggedclaws.com)


When all the world seemed young
From images.fineartamerica.com


A Wolf Had Not Been Seen at Salem for Thirty Years
Illustration for "The Salem Wolf"
Harper's Monthly Magazine, December 1909
Delaware Art Museum, museum purchase, 1912-50
From rockwell-center.org


The Attack upon the Chew House
Illustration for “The Story of the Revolution”
Henry Cabot Lodge Scribner’s Magazine, June 1898
Delaware Art Museum Purchase, 1912-92
From rockwell-center.org


A celebrity in his lifetime, Pyle’s widely circulated images of pirates, knights, and historical figures were featured in publications such as Harper’s Monthly and were admired by artists and authors like Vincent Van Gogh and Mark Twain. Yet, despite his widespread popularity, Pyle’s reputation has survived only among illustration scholars and enthusiasts. Until now his work has been virtually omitted from the larger context of art history. In celebration of the centenary of Pyle’s death, the Delaware Art Museum presented "Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered", a major retrospective exhibition featuring 79 paintings and drawings created by Pyle between 1876 and 1910. The Museum’s Centennial Celebration begins in November 2011 with the opening of Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered and ends in June 2013 with the exhibition Contemporary Illustrators Honor Howard Pyle. This exhibition presents a fresh perspective on Pyle’s familiar images, exploring his interaction with the art and culture of his time and effectively repositioning him within the broader spectrum of 19th-century art.
(artknowledgenews.com)


Pyle in His Studio
From thinkinghousewife.com


Pyle’s unique approach to the art of illustration was honed through the intensive, self-directed study of the art of his time, which he experienced both in the original as well as through illustrated periodicals and books, reproductive prints, and fine art reproductions. Three key themes represented in Pyle’s work were highlighted in exhibition: Visions of the Past . Pyle’s depictions of history, including Roman gladiators and Medieval knights were presented. His views of the classical world drew inspiration from the work of the French academic artist Jean-Leon Gérôme (1824 – 1904) and his numerous depictions of the Middle Ages show how conversant Pyle was with the works of the 19th-century Pre-Raphaelites. Pyle’s pirate imagery is based on his own personal archive of costume books and historic manuscripts; however, his use of strong diagonals, flat compositional arrangements, and restrained placement of color suggests an understanding of the art world’s new-found interest in Japanese ukiyo-e prints. The contemporary art world was obsessed with Japanese art as reflected in the work of James McNeill Whistler, James Tissot, and Edgar Degas, among others. Fairytale and Fantasy focused on Pyle’s fairy tales and children’s illustrations, which show his knowledge of European illustrators, including Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) and Kate Greenaway (1846 – 1901). His depictions of the world of make-believe also reflect many of the themes and methods of European Aesthetic and Symbolist art. America – Past and Present highlights Pyle’s enthusiasm for the American Colonial Revival of the 1880s, which celebrated the history of the United States. Many of Pyle’s iconic Revolutionary War scenes seem to have been strengthened by knowledge of the work of the French Salon artist, Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier (1814 – 1891), whose military scenes of the Napoleonic Wars were immensely popular.
(Artfixdaily ArtWiretm at artfixdaily.com)


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