To Form a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Murals in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber

At breakfast tables on Sunday morning, December 3, 1911, readers of The New York Times were confronted with a surprising headline running across the magazine section: “A WOMAN CHOSEN TO COMPLETE THE ABBEY PAINTINGS.” Four months earlier, the news that the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) had passed away in London raised speculation about who would receive the remainder of his...
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Violet Oakley, Lady Mural Painter

When Violet Oak­ley accepted the commission – and challenge – of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to decorate the State Capitol then under con­struction in Harrisburg, she announced that the subject of her mural series would be “The Romance of the Found­ing of the State.” In 1902, the ardent lady mural painter, then twenty-eight years old and the only one of her kind,...
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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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Bookshelf

Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architec­ture by David Bruce Brownlee and David G. De Long Museum of Contemporary Art and Rizzoli International Publications, 1991 (448 pages, paper, $34.95) Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974) had strong ties to Philadelphia during his internationally acclaimed architectural career. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1906, and was encouraged by the Graphic Sketch Club, Central...
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You Can Go Home Again: An Interview with James A. Michener

James A Michener is a man of diverse talents, boundless energy, and seemingly countless interests. He is naturally inquisitive, passionately curious. He is fascinated by the world around him and the people who inhabit it. He collects stories about far-away places as effortlessly as one gathers seashells on the shoreline in summer. He is the Ultimate Con­noisseur. Of people. Of places. Of things....
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Shorts

The seventeenth annual Conference on Black History will be conducted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission on Friday and Saturday, May 13-14, 1994, in Erie. The theme of this year’s event is “African Americans at Work in Pennsyl­vania.” For additional information, write: 1994 Conference on Black History, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, P. O. Box...
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Currents

Famous Faces John W. Mosley (1907-1969), characterized by an admirer as “our most magnificent and beloved photographer,” was Philadelphia’s leading black photographer, whose images appeared in nearly every African American newspaper on the East Coast (see “His Eye Was On The Positive” by Richard D. Beards in the winter 1990 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage)....
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Currents

Beaux’s Art Pennsylvania native Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) was one of the most important and successful portrait painters of her time (see “Artistic Ambitions: Cecilia Beaux in Philadelphia” by Tara Leigh Tappert in the winter 1996 edition). Among the significant commissions she completed in the early twentieth century was a portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt’s...
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Artistic Ambitions: Cecilia Beaux in Philadelphia

In 1885, when young Philadelphia artist Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) sent Les derniers jours d’enfance (1883) to the fifty-sixth annual exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, her goal to become one of the finest and most successful portrait painters in America was only a glimmering ambi­tion. Painted under the tutelage of artist William Sartain, Les derniers jours...
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Currents

Capturing the Light Showcasing the work of local turn-of-the-century photographers, an ongoing exhibit at the Erie History Center features more than two hundred and fifty photographs made between 1890 and 1900, along with related documents, artifacts, and equipment. Entitled “Capturing the Light: Turn of the Century Photographs,” the exhibition offers a glimpse of work, amusements,...
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