February 22, 2013 |
When she was 8 or 9, in the 1960s, Jen Bryant learned to type by copying obituary material on the desk of her father, a Flemington, N.J., undertaker. In 2004, having already published more than a dozen books, she happened on a painting at the Brandywine River Museum by Horace Pippin, the late African American artist from West Chester. Bookend events. From her first childhood taste of writing to her latest children's book, A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, published by Alfred A. Knopf in January.
April 4, 1994
We went to see Horace Pippin the other day, on a bracing afternoon when a hot button of sun beamed down after so many months of snow and gloomy rain. He is the self-taught West Chester painter, the wounded African American infantryman who found that World War I "brought out all the art in me. " He was a genial man. He peered out on the America of the 1940s, beyond the Detroit race riots, beyond the Klansmen's hoods, beyond another war, and could still see bright reason to hope.
January 21, 1994 |
Every young artist dreams of being "discovered" and taking the art world by storm. Horace Pippin wasn't discovered until he was nearly 50, but he conquered the art world of his time in one giant stride. Within a year, he had graduated from small-town painter to headliner at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). That was in 1938. By 1940, Pippin was known all over the country. Time and Newsweek wrote about his exhibitions. Hollywood stars such as Claude Rains, Edward G. Robinson and Charles Laughton were buying his paintings.
January 17, 1994 |
The manner in which Horace Pippin went about his artistic business is well summarized in a tale told by Claude Clarke, an African-American painter who knew Pippin in the 1940s. Clarke said Pippin would occasionally get telephone calls from the eccentric art connoisseur Albert C. Barnes, an early Pippin patron, who offered suggestions regarding Pippin's work. "Do I tell you how to run your foundation? Don't tell me how to paint," Clarke quoted the artist as replying. That Pippin - a self-taught painter who lived in a West Chester rowhouse with his laundress wife - would stand up to the Merion millionaire speaks volumes about his artistic independence.
October 29, 1986 |
In its reincarnation at Wilmington's Playhouse Theater this week, Pippin is a Ben Vereen show. His is the dominating presence. He re-creates his Tony Award-winning role as master of ceremonies, otherwise known as the Leading Player, and is also the director of the revival. But a Ben Vereen show is not the Ben Vereen show. The dynamic hoofer's part in this musical does not give his talents full rein. He is restricted by the necessity of sharing the stage with a whole company of gifted performers pretending to be a strolling troupe of players who go through their paces under Vereen's propulsive hand.
January 31, 2016
Musical theater loves Philly and vice versa. Here's a partial list of some of the big-name musicals rolling through town. Beauty and the Beast (Academy of Music, Feb. 16-21). The Mencken/Ashman/Rice stalwart and family favorite reminds everyone that beauty is, well, beautiful, no matter how it may look at first. Tuneful. (215-893-1999 or kimmelcenter.org) Pippin (Academy of Music, Feb. 23-28). The feckless son of Charlemagne bumbles musically along in this longtime favorite.
July 7, 1994 |
The cast moved together a bit awkwardly at the end of the number, but the overall harmonic rendition of "All the Live Long Day" had Scott Schwartz jumping onto the stage to applaud. "Do that every time, and you'll get a big round of applause," he told his six-member cast. From his place in the mostly empty theater, Jon Dorf summed up all his own fears in a mumble: "If there is an audience. " Schwartz, 20, and Dorf, 23, are launching an ambitious project, The American Experiment Theater, which opens at The Haverford School Tuesday.
February 18, 1999 |
Scottie Pippen has lofted the ball inside to Othella Harrington. Now, he must wait. Much of an NBA star's life is glamorous, exciting - and Pippen's first season untethered to the Chicago Bulls has been all of that - but, then again, much of it is also spent wondering what exactly Othella Harrington plans to do with the basketball. One thing is clear: Harrington intends to keep it. He backs toward the basket, butting up against the pliant, defensive posture of Phoenix's Tom Gugliotta, then turns suddenly and caroms a short shot through the rim. The Compaq Center crowd cheers with a mix of delight and surprise.
February 6, 1994 |
The vibrant and colorful paintings of Horace Pippin, on exhibit at the Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, have often been characterized as a window into the heritage of black Americans in Chester County. Pippin, the grandson of slaves, captured the warmth and simplicity of everyday life in paintings such as Interior of a Cabin and Domino Players. But the scenes could have taken place anywhere. These folklore paintings, as well as Pippin's still lifes, portraits and landscapes of rural Pennsylvania, made him practically an overnight sensation.
November 13, 2003 |
An art critic might call a painting "vibrant" or "energetic" - words that also apply to the flourishing art scene in West Chester. Thanks to a cluster of galleries - along with civic improvements, plenty of restaurants, and the borough's inherent charm - West Chester has become a destination for the region's art lovers. West Chester's gallery boom is the continuation of a long-standing artistic tradition that goes back to Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth and Horace Pippin. The area has inspired generations of artists.