Shorts

Opening Sunday, August 26, at Lan­caster’s Demuth Foundation is “Ben Solowey: The Modern Impulse, 1925- 1935,” which explores the Bucks County painter’s impact on the modern art movement (see “Ben Solowey: The Thing Speaks for Itself’ by Peter Frengel and David Leopold, Summer 1990). Internationally known artist Charles Demuth (1883-1935) was inspired by his...
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Current and Coming

Steel Poetry Inspired by the various aspects of the steel industry in Bethlehem, Mildred T. Johnstone (1900-1988) created unusual canvas embroideries in the late 1940s and early 1950s. As the wife of Bethlehem Steel Corporation executive William H. Johnstone, she had the singular honor of being the first woman to tour the compa­ny’s steel mills. Although the mills have grown silent,...
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Current and Coming

Jimmy Stewart Upon his death at the age of eighty-­nine, James Maitland Stewart (1908-1997) – Jimmy Stewart to adoring fans throughout the world – was described by Washington Post staff writer Bart Barnes as “a motion picture Olympian with an all-American image and a universal appeal whose roles as a movie actor helped define a national culture.” During his career, he...
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Current and Coming

Photography of Design Margaret Bourke­-White (1904-1971) is best remembered as the first staff photographer of Fortune magazine, the first female war correspondent, and the woman whose photographs made the covers of Life magazine famous. Before she began traveling throughout the world to record history in the making, Bourke-White was creating evocative abstract photographs of American industry...
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Two Hundred Years and Counting – The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Two centuries ago, on Thursday, Decem­ber 26, 1805, seventy-one individuals gathered at the State House (now Independence Hall) to formally establish an art institution for Philadelphia. Meetings throughout the summer had led to the drafting of a charter, formation of a board of directors, and the collection of funds for a building. By the day after Christmas, a professional calligraph­er had...
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Out and About

Family Affair Much Like her famous great-grandfather, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie (1821-1901) was a spirited, community-minded Philadel­phian, a tireless champion of causes she believed were in the best interests of fel­low citizens. Her notable ancestor? None other than Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). As part of the myriad events and exhibits staged in and beyond Philadelphia to mark the three...
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Bookshelf

Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories, 1965–1973 by Sherry Buchanan published by the University of Chicago Press, 2007; 180 pages, cloth, $25.00 For generations of Americans, it was an icon with the decidedly distinctive click. Invented by George G. Blaisdell, the first Zippo® lighter was manufactured by the Zippo Manufacturing Company, Bradford, Bradford County, seventy-five...
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Lost and Found

Lost Under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, a myriad of ambitious economic recovery initiatives, the Section of the Fine Arts of the U.S. Department of the Treasury commissioned artist Niles G. Spencer (1893– 1952) in 1937 to paint a mural for the post office in Aliquippa, Beaver County. Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Spencer attended the Rhode Island School of Design,...
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Rediscovering the People’s Art: New Deal Murals in Pennsylvania’s Post Offices

On a February morning in 1937, artist George Warren Rickey (1907-2002) and a group of four men met at the post office in Selinsgrove, Snyder County. Armed with cloth-covered rolling pins, the men attached Rickey’s mural entitled Susquehanna Trail to one of the lobby’s end walls. After six hours, they transformed the entire blank white wall, from marble wainscoting to ceiling, into a...
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