Stories from PA History
Story Details
Fine Arts
Pennsylvania's art has always reflected the history of the Commonwealth and the nation. Celebrating the state's religious and political ideals, beauty, economic wealth, and progress, Pennsylvania artists have also protested injustice, criticized intolerance, called attention to personal costs of industrial growth, and in other ways reflected American values and visions.

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Bring this subject into focus through the following chapters. These stories take exploration of the main story further by providing more detail for you to learn and explore.

Overview: Fine Arts
Chapter One: Pennsylvania Art: From Its Beginnings to the Late Nineteenth Century
Chapter Two: Exiles, Photographers, and Illustrators: Pennsylvania Art in the Late Nineteenth Century
Chapter Three: Confronting Modernity: Pennsylvania Artists in the Twentieth Century

Historical Markers In the Story
marker icon Aaron Siskind (Bucks) marker icon Abolition Hall [Thomas Hovendon] (Montgomery)
marker icon Ben Austrian (Berks) marker icon Benjamin West (Delaware)
marker icon Charles Demuth (Lancaster) marker icon Charles Sheeler (Bucks)
marker icon Charles Willson Peale (Philadelphia) marker icon Chester Springs [Fine Arts] (Chester)
marker icon David Bustill Bowser (Philadelphia) marker icon Edward Hicks [Fine Arts] (Bucks)
marker icon Ephrata Cloister [Fine Arts] (Lancaster) marker icon Frank Gasparro (Philadelphia)
marker icon Franz Kline (Luzerne) marker icon George Catlin [Fine Arts] (Luzerne)
marker icon Henry Chapman Mercer (Bucks) marker icon Henry Clay Frick (Fine Arts) (Allegheny)
marker icon Henry O. Tanner (Philadelphia) marker icon Horace Pippin (Chester)
marker icon Laura Wheeler Waring (Philadelphia) marker icon Martin Johnson Heade (Bucks)
marker icon Mary Cassatt (Allegheny) marker icon Meta V.W. Fuller (Philadelphia)
marker icon Mill Grove (John James Audubon) (Montgomery) marker icon Paul Philippe Cret (Philadelphia)
marker icon Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia) marker icon Peter Frederick Rothermel (Luzerne)
marker icon Robert Cornelius (Philadelphia) marker icon Thomas Buchanan Read (Chester)
marker icon Thomas Eakins (Philadelphia) marker icon Violet Oakley (Philadelphia)

Lesson Plans for this Story
Take your students back in history with these discussions and activities for the classroom

Story Bibliography

Original Documents
icon full text George Catlin, on His Desire to Document All Indian Tribes, 1841.
icon full text Edward Hicks, On painting within "the bounds of innocence and usefulness," circa 1845.
icon full text Thomas Buchanan Read, "Sheridan's Ride," 1864.
icon full text Letter of Complaint on Eakin's Life Drawing Class, 1882
icon full text Letter in Defense of Thomas Eakins, 1886.
icon full text Student March in Support of Thomas Eakins, 1886
icon full text Henry Chapman Mercer, on Collecting Pennsylvania Artifacts in 1897.
icon full text Preface to Violet Oakley's "The Holy Experiment," 1922.
icon full text Conclusion to Violet Oakley's "The Holy Experiment," 1922.
icon full text Albert C. Barnes, on "Negro Art and America," 1925.
icon full text Henry Chapman Mercer, on the Origin of his Pottery, 1925.
icon full text Charles Sheeler, "Notes on an Exhibition of Greek Art," 1925.
icon full text Louisine Havemeyer on Mary Cassatt, 1927.
icon full text Charles Sheeler, On his Interest in Bucks County Barns, from the 1930s
icon full text Sadakichi Hartman on Thomas Eakins, 1934.
icon full text Alain Locke on Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1936.
icon full text Alain Locke on Sculptor Meta Warrick, 1936.
icon full text Charles Sheeler on Photography as Art, 1950
icon full text Charles Sheeler on the Beauty and Functionality of Barns, 1959
icon full text Georgine Oeri, "Notes on Franz Kline," 1961.

1735 Gustavus Hesselius paints Native Americans Lapowinsa and Tishcohan.
1755 - 1760 John Valentine Haidt - "The First Fruits," painted in Bethlehem showing Moravian converts throughout the world.
1771 Benjamin West paints "William Penn's Treaty with the Indians."
1786 Charles Willson Peale founds his Museum in Independence Hall. The year before he painted the last portrait of Benjamin Franklin, the first where he wore glasses.
1805 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, oldest art school and continuously functioning museum in America, founded.
1810 - 1840 John James Audubon paints sketches of birds.
1820 - 1849 Edward Hicks paints some sixty "Peaceable Kingdoms."
1830 - 1839 George Catlin executes his famous drawings of Native Americans on the Great Plains.
1839 Robert Cornelius earliest known photographer in the western hemisphere (maker of daguerreotypes)
1851 Emmanuel Leutze paints "George Washington Crossing the Delaware." Heroic and historical paintings, along with landscapes, the most popular art
1855 George Inness paints "The Lackawanna Valley", the classic Pennsylvania landscape.
1860 - 1922 Mary Cassatt lives in Paris, and is regarded by the leading French Impressionists as an equal. Black artist Henry Ossawa Tanner joins her in 1891.
1867 - 1870 Peter Frederick Rothermel paints "Battle of Gettysburg."
1875 Thomas Eakins paints "The Gross Clinic."
1876 Centennial Exhibition in Fairmount Park. Current building used for Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts opened. Philadelphia Museum of Art begun in Centennial Hall, Fairmount Park.
1886 Eakins fired as drawing instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
1890 - 1919 Arts and Crafts Movement. Henry Chapman Mercer revives Moravian pottery art, collects early Pennsylvania folk art.
1890 - 1895 William Rau completes stunning photographs of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
1895 Opening of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.
1900 Early 1900s - Ashcan School, five of eight of whom are Pennsylvania artists, begins painting realistic scenes of working class and industrial life.
1906 Pennsylvania State Capitol dedicated. Houses murals by Violet Oakley, Willian Van Inghen, Edwin Austin Abbey, and tiles by Hugh Chapman Mercer.
1909 - 1928 Benjamin Franklin Parkway under construction. Rodin Museum completed 1926, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928.
1910 Formation of Associated Artists in Pittsburgh.
1910 - 1939 Aaron Siskind and Charles Sheeler participate in New Hope artists' colony; their work based on early Pennsylvania houses becomes source of modern abstract art.
1913 Armory Show in New York - introduces modern art (cubism, abstract, surrealist) to America.
1918 - 1946 Black artist Horace Pippin of West Chester recognized as one of America's leading painters.
1921 Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts exhibits major modern American Artists.
1925 Barnes Foundation founded, opened to select viewers in Upper Merion.
1930 - 1939 Depression-era murals executed throughout the state by artists funded by government programs.
1937 Pittsburgh industrialist and art collector Andrew Mellon donates several hundred old masters and American works of art to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
1945 - 1960 Abstract Expressionism, with Pennsylvania represented by Franz Kline, flourishes in New York.
1960 - 1979 Pop art flourishes, best represented by Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol.
1984 Launching of the Philadelphia Mural Project which produces more than 2,300 murals executed by artists and community groups throughout the city by 2010. Other cities in Pennsylvania soon follow suit.
1994 Opening of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
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