Black Cultural Development in Pennsylvania Since 1900

The cultural history of Blacks in America is varied and diverse. At the same time, it is deeply inter­woven into the whole of America’s cultural fabric. Yet, the significant cultural contributions of Black Amer­icans have been overlooked. Because of this omission, it was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that the art of Afro-Americans began to receive the recognition it so...
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Ben Solowey: The Thing Speaks for Itself

In a career that spanned more than six decades, Ben Solowey (1900-1978), painted, sculpted and created exactly as he wanted. He paid no attention to what was fashionable or lucrative at the moment, cultivated no distinguished patrons, sought little publicity and asked for no exhibitions; unsolicited, the work nevertheless came to him. Although he gained renown for his portraits of the American...
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Pittsburgh’s Designing Women

A man does not marry an artist, but a housekeeper …. I put away my brushes; resolutely crucified my divine gift, and while it hung writhing on the cross, spent my best years and powers cooking cabbage.” So wrote Jane Grey Swisshelm (1815-1884) of Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County. Swisshelm’s bittersweet memoirs recall the painful sacrifice that she made to the Victorian code of...
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The Many Faces of Thomas Eakins

Thomas Eakins, one of the country’s foremost painters, was probably photographed more often – and in more ways­ – than any other nineteenth century American artist. In 1985, the Pennsylvania Acad­emy of the Fine Arts, founded in Philadelphia in 1805, ac­quired a large collection of photographs, manuscripts, and works of art relating to Thomas Eakins. Saved first by his wife,...
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The Resurrection of Henry Ossawa Tanner

The annals of American art are crowded with artists who achieved renown in their life­times, but whose reputations – for a variety of reasons – faded after their demise. No story is more poignant than that of Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), a gifted African American painter who grew up in Philadelphia, but, to escape painful discrimination, pursued his career in France. Henry Ossawa...
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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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Painting for Peer, Patron and the Public

For three centuries, Pennsylvania has en­joyed a rich and di­verse cultural heritage. The elegance of its colonial and federal architecture and furniture in Philadelphia is unrivaled, prompting architect Benjamin Latrobe in 1811 to christen the city “the Athens of the Western World.” During the opening years of the nine­teenth century, Philadelphia attracted artists and artisans from...
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The Day They Raised a Monument in Dixie

The artillery salvo thun­dered across the land­scape. The pandemo­nium reverberated through the ravines before fading eerily in the distance. The outburst was quickly followed by another, then another. It was reminiscent of an earlier day, many years before, when soldiers uni­formed in blue and gray skir­mished upon these heights and engaged in mortal combat amidst roaring guns and flar­ing...
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Shorts

The distinctively decorated furniture of Soap Hollow in Somerset County (see “Makers’ Marks and a Master’s Touch” by Edna V. Brendlinger and Robert B. Myers in the winter 1986 edition) is on view at the Southern Alleghenies Mu­seum of Art, Loretto, from Saturday, March 27, through Monday, May 31, 1993. Soap Hollow furniture, made during the second half of the nine­teenth...
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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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