Losing the Way by Horace Pippin at State Museum of Pennsylvania

Sharing the Common Wealth showcases objects, artifacts, documents, structures and buildings from the collections of PHMC.

A native and resident of West Chester, Chester County, Horace Pippin (1888–1946) was a self-taught artist who rose from poverty to become one of the nation’s most important African American artists, even though he is known to have created less than 150 works of art. He was severely wounded during World War I and lost much of the use of his right arm. Nevertheless, after the war and despite his infirmity, he returned to painting, which had been a childhood pastime. Pippin did not depict social protest and historical events in his paintings, but mostly concentrated on domestic scenes of family and individuals working together. The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, holds Country Doctor, Lost in the Snow, previously known as Losing the Way (circa 1930s, prior to 1937), wood burning and oil on an oak door panel. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is observing “Black History in Pennsylvania: Communities in Common” as its annual theme for 2010.