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“Horace Pippin: The Way I See It” On View Through July 19 At Pennsylvania Museum.

HoracePippinSelfPortraitA leading figure of 20th Century American art, African American Horace Pippin (1888-1946) is known for his insightful, expressive and bold paintings. An exhibition, at the Brandywine Art Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, through July 19 examines Pippin’s work. Pippin vividly depicted a range of subject matter, from intimate family moments and floral still lifes to powerful scenes of war, history and religion.

The exhibit, “Horace Pippin: The Way I See It” includes 65 paintings, nearly half of the artist’s total output, assembled from museums and private collections across the United States. The Brandywine River Museum of Art is the only venue for this exhibition, the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in more than 20 years.

The exhibit title comes from Pippin’s response to a question about what made him a great painter. “I paint it exactly the way it is and exactly the way I see it.” Pippin was a self-taught artist who depicted a range of subject matter from intimate family moments and bold floral still lifes, to powerful scenes of war, history and religion.

Pippin was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, less than 10 miles from the Brandywine, but grew up in Goshen, New York. He eventually returned to West Chester in 1920 after serving in World War I as part of the renowned African-American regiment known as the “Harlem Hellfighters.”

Pippin painted in relative obscurity during most of the 1930s, though his work was well known to his neighbors and sometimes displayed in local businesses. It was not until 1937 that his paintings gained wider public recognition when he exhibited two works at the Chester County Art Association’s annual exhibition. Awarded a special mention by famed artist N. C. Wyeth, who was judging the show it helped ensure that Pippin’s paintings were shown prominently.

Pippin’s rise to prominence was happened quickly after 1937. The Museum of Modern Art featured four of his works the following year, and he was quickly embraced nationally by other museums, galleries, critics and collectors who valued the self-taught artist’s style.

“Horace Pippin: The Way I See It” is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog featuring essays by exhibition curator Audrey Lewis, and several guest authors. It is available in the museum shop and online.

For further information view brandywine.org.

The photo is of a self portrait of Horace Pippin
from 1944. It is from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

About the Author

In 2000, following a long and successful career as head of his own public relations agency, Jim became a freelance travel writer. In 2003 he was named travel editor at New York Trend. Jim travels widely in North America and Europe and has also visited in Asia, Africa, and Central America. He enjoys writing stories that bring alive his travel experience and entice the reader to visit new destinations. Jim is a member of the International Association of Black Travel Writers.

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