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Howard Pyle (American, 1853-1911)
Birth Place: Wilmington (New Castle county, Delaware, United States)
Once called “the father of American Illustration” by the New York Times, Howard Pyle was an influential artist, illustrator and teacher. His works such as The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and the Book of Pirates created an image of rogues and pirates that remain in popular culture until the modern day.
Howard Pyle was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1853 to a Quaker family. He had little interest in education but was encouraged to study at the studio of F.A. Van der Weilen in Philadelphia. He later took some lessons at the Art Students League of New York. It was in New York that he gained national and international fame. Encouraged by artists such as A.B. Frost and Frederick S. Church, he submitted articles and illustrations to magazines such as Harper’s Monthly and Scribner’s Magazine. In 1881, he married Anne Poole and they had seven children. Besides his times in New York, most of his life was spent with his family in Delaware.
In a time where illustrators were the celebrities of the American population, he was incredibly well-known and respected as an illustrator in connection with both his magazine articles and children’s books. In Delaware, he taught students at the Howard Pyle School of Art. His style was adopted by several artists, who were later referred to as learners of The Brandywine School.
Howard Pyle lived in Delaware until his death in 1911. He received no formal awards but his influence can still be seen in modern images and archetypes, including the characters of the popular film series, Pirates of the Caribbean. Much of his life’s work can be found in a collection at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, Delaware.
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