Current and Coming features detailed information about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania. Originated as “Currents.” Retitled “Current and Coming,” Winter 2003, and then retitled “Out and About,” Fall 2005. Revived as “Current and Coming,” Winter 2013. Ran regularly, Spring 1984 to Spring 2008, and then occasionally, Winter 2013 to Spring 2015.

American Etchers Abroad

Beginning in the early 1880s, a large number of American artists set out for foreign lands. Europe offered travel abroad, opportunity to study great works of art, and instruction from master artists. Many were drawn to the graphic art of etching. With etching tools in hand, they explored Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and recorded their impressions of sites and people.

Etching has been practiced by an impressive list of artists, including Rembrandt and Goya. To create an etching, an artist uses a needle to draw into acid­-resistant wax, or “ground,” applied over a copper or other metal plate. A series of acid baths bite into the metal only where it is unprotected by wax. The wax is then removed and ink is forced into the etched depressions. After the plate is wiped to remove ink from the unetched surface, an impression is printed.

“American Etchers Abroad, 1880-1939,” is a special exhibition that continues until September 4 at the Brandy­wine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Delaware County. The exhibit features fifty-nine prints by thirty-two American artists who undertook this artistic pilgrimage. Organized by the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, the exhibition examines not only the artists’ motivations for traveling abroad, but also the history that led them to document their experiences in etchings.

In addition to presenting prints by James Abbott Mc­Neill Whistler and Pennsylvania expatriates Mary Cassatt and Joseph Pennell, the exhibit highlights the achieve­ments of other under-appreciated artists. The exhibition features works by several other etchers, including Herman Armour Webster, who exhibited a particular fondness for people and genre subjects such as architectural views of Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Paris, Marseilles, and Frankfort. “American Etchers Abroad, 1880-1939,” is ac­companied by selected works from the Brandywine River Museum’s permanent collection.

The Brandywine River Museum is located on U.S. Route 1 in Chadds Ford, less than one mile west of Brandywine Battlefield Park. To plan a visit, write: Brandywine River Museum, P.O. Box 141, Chadds Ford, PA 19317; telephone (610) 388 -2700; or visit the Brandywine River Museum website.


Poetry in Design

Harry Leith-Ross (1886-1973) was one of Pennsylva­nia’s most decorated impressionist painters. He was a frequent exhibitor of oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, the Art Institute of Chi­cago, and the Corcoran Gallery in Washing­ton, D.C. Born on the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, he lived with his grandparents in a castle in Scotland and im­migrated to the United States at age seventeen. Leith-Ross first studied engineering, worked in his uncle’s coal mining business, and in advertising and commercial art. He stud­ied art in Paris in 1909 and began exhibiting his paintings in New York and Philadelphia, while continuing to study at prestigious art schools.

After meeting noted Pennsylvania impressionist John Fulton Folinsbee (1892-1972), Leith-Ross and his wife settled in the dynamic arts community of New Hope in Bucks County, where he converted a barn into an art stu­dio and became best known for landscape paintings in the tradition of the eighteenth century. An instructor at the University of Buffalo, University of Utah, and as a private teacher, Leith-Ross encouraged his students not to fear painting from memory, to convey a mood in their work, and to distill their ideas into a single concept.

Through October 1, 2006, “Poetry in Design: The Art of Harry Leith Ross,” at The Michener in New Hope, a satel­lite of the Michener Art Museum, provides a retrospective of the artist. A wide range of Leith-Ross’s oils, watercolors, and drawings are displayed. The Michener Art Museum is also celebrating one of America’s greatest composers, Irving Berlin (1888-1989). “Irving Berlin’s Hollywood,” an inter­active exhibit through September 6 at the main museum in Doylestown, features photographs, drawings, and artifacts associated with Berlin’s musical association with motion pictures.

The Michener in New Hope is located at Union Square on Bridge Street. For more information write: Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown, Pa. 18901; telephone (215) 340-9800; or visit the Michener Art Museum website.