Best remembered as an influential illustrator and teacher, Howard Pyle (1853-1911) produced magnificent artwork and engrossing books and magazine stories about King Arthur, Robin Hood, swashbuckling pirates, and the American Revolution. He also completed public murals and trained many famous artists and illustrators at the turn of the twentieth century, including N. C. Wyeth and Jessie Willcox Smith. This engaging portrait of the influential American artist, teacher, author, and muralist is the first fully documented treatment of Pyle's life and career.
Drawing on numerous archival sources including Pyle's own letters to provide new perspectives on his life, Jill P. May and Robert E. May reveal Pyle to be a passionate believer that art should be understood and appreciated by the general public. His genteel values and artistic tastes shaped not only his own creative output but his influential work as a teacher, first at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry in Philadelphia and later at his own school in Delaware's Brandywine River Valley. May and May also show him to be far more supportive of women artists than is generally believed, explaining how he deployed club memberships and relationships with publishers and politicians to advance the prospects of his students. Duly measuring his influence on later artists, May and May detail his quest to lead a distinctively American school of art freed from European models.
Amply illustrated with evocative photographs and color reproductions of his own and his students' work, this exceptional volume presents Howard Pyle's creative career and legacy for American popular culture as it has never been seen before.