The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts: An Ideal and a Symbol

By 1805, the year the Pennsylvania Acad­emy of the Fine Arts was founded, Phila­delphia had achieved a large measure of political, social and economic stability. It had been the nation’s capital and contin­ued to thrive as a center of banking and commerce. The largest city in the United States at the opening of the nineteenth century, it was arguably the center of culture, with Boston its...
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A Salute to the Bicentennial of the Keystone State

The current Bicentennial celebration commemorates not the birth of the United States, but the proclama­tion of thirteen British-American colonies that were “free and independent states” as of July 4, 17.76. When they formed a loose compact in 1761, their articles of confederation declared that “each state retains its sover­eignty, freedom and independence.” The...
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Charles Grafly: An Apostle of American Art

From the earliest days through most of the nineteenth century, sculpture in America was the enterprise of w1tutored artisans, craftsmen, stonecutters, and woodcarvers modestly plying their trade on furniture, gravestones, figureheads, and shop signs. Lacking opportunities for academic training at home, ambitious craftsmen flocked first to Rome and, following the Civil War, to Paris to learn the...
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Anchor by Stuart Davis

“I am an American, born in Philadelphia of American stock. I studied art in America. I paint what I see in America, in other words, I paint the American scene,” so Stuart Davis (1894-1964) described himself and his work. He was raised in an environment that nurtured artistic leanings. His mother, Helen Stu­art Foulke, a sculptor, and his father, Edward Wyatt Davis, art editor for the...
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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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Current and Coming

Titanic Science When launched in 1912, he was the grandest, most luxurious moving object ever built, and few stories in history have captured the world’s imagination like hers. The saga of the RMS Ti­tanic actually began five years earlier, in 1907, at a dinner party at Downshire House, the residence of Lord James Pirrie in the fashionable Belgravia section of London. A guest of Lord...
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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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