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Chester County Press

Walk the places painted by Horace Pippin

05/05/2015 10:36AM ● By J. Chambless

'West Chester Court House' by Horace Pippin.

Horace Pippin, one of the leading figures of  20th century art, spent most of his life in West Chester, Pennsylvania. In conjunction with the exhibition "Horace Pippin: The Way I See It," on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the museum has created a self-guided tour of sites around the area associated with the artist and his work. The guide is available on the museum website.

From the Chester County courthouse to Everhart Park, the guide provides images that compare Pippin's paintings to local landmarks and a map to use as a walking tour to these locations  associated with Pippin's life and career. In most instances these are sites that can be seen directly in his work.

Horace Pippin (1888-1946) is known for his insightful, expressive and bold paintings of family life, history, religion and war. Born in West Chester, his family moved away when he was a small child. He returned to the town in 1920 after serving in World War I as part of the renowned African-American regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters.


Due to a war injury that severely limited the use of his right arm, Pippin painted using his left arm as a support for his right hand. He was the first African American to have his work accepted by the Chester County Art Association. His work quickly gained national attention, and entered major museums and private collections. Pippin died in West Chester on July 6, 1946.

 While often viewed as a "folk artist," Pippin was a self-proclaimed realist. His paintings were truly intended to show how he saw his hometown. By visiting these sites, located within a relatively small distance of each other, one can perhaps begin to imagine the artist's perspective as he painted.  

"Horace Pippin: The Way I See It," on view through July 19, examines the work of this self-taught artist, who remained independent, creating and upholding a unique aesthetic sensibility. Pippin vividly depicted a range of subject matter, from intimate family moments and floral still lifes to powerful scenes of war, history and religion. The exhibition includes 65 paintings-close to half of the artist's oeuvre, assembled from museums and private collections across the United States. The Brandywine River Museum of Art will be the only venue for this exhibition, the first major exhibition of the artist's work in more than 20 years.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art, located on U.S. Route 1 in Chadds Ford, is open daily (except Christmas Day) from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults; $10 for seniors ages 65 and over; $6 for students and children ages 6-12; free for children ages five and under and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art members. Admission is free on Sunday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to noon (except on May 24, during the annual Antiques Show).


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