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Double Lives: American Painters as Illustrators, 1850-1950 Opens

CHADDS FORD, PA.- Winslow Homer, Frederic Remington, Childe Hassam, Henry Farny, N. C. Wyeth and John Sloan are among the artists featured in Double Lives: American Painters as Illustrators, 1850-1950, on view at the Brandywine River Museum from today September 6 to November 23, 2008. The exhibition compares and contrasts fine art painting and illustration, and charts their development in the United States over time through the eyes of a select group of artists who engaged in both.

American illustration flourished between 1850 and 1950, with advances in print technology combining with a public appetite for illustrated newspapers, magazines, and novels to create enormous growth in the production of printed material and a great need for professional illustrators. Winslow Homer first established his reputation with Civil War sketches that appeared in Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper; Frederic Remington and Henry Farny gained their first recognition through illustrations for western stories in popular magazines; and the Impressionist Childe Hassam began his career as a successful illustrator of children's books. Each of the artists represented in the exhibition also painted important independent work, and Double Lives compares and contrasts examples of the two practices within each artist's career.

Double Lives also addresses the sometimes uneasy relationship between the two professions. An emerging view by critics at the turn of the 20th century was that illustration was on a "lower plane" than the fine art of easel painting, partly because of its commercial associations and partly because it contradicted the romantic idea of the artist as a free spirit. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see side-by-side examples of original illustrations and easel painting by some of the foremost artists of the period.

Double Lives: American Painters as Illustrators, 1850-1950, has been organized by the New Britain Museum of Art with guest curator Richard J. Boyle. The exhibition will be documented in an illustrated catalogue with an essay by Boyle. The presentation of this exhibition at the Brandywine River Museum is supported by The Davenport Family Foundation Fund for Exhibitions.

The Brandywine River Museum is located on U.S. Route 1 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The museum is open daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults; $5 for seniors, students and children ages 6 to 12; and free for children under six and members. For more information, please call 610-388-2700 or visit the museum's website at

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