WILMINGTON, DE.- The Delaware Art Museum
presents Illustrating Her World: Ellen B. T. Pyle, featuring approximately 50 works in the first overview of Ellen Pyles career, on view August 1, 2009 January 3, 2010. A student and sister-in-law of master illustrator Howard Pyle, Ellen Pyle drew acclaim from around the country for her covers for The Saturday Evening Post and other publications.
Ellen Bernard Thompson Pyle (1876-1936) was born in Germantown , Pennsylvania , and studied art at the Drexel Institute, where she was a student of illustrator Howard Pyle. She was one of the few women students invited to study illustration at Pyles Chadds Ford summer school. In 1904, she married Howard Pyles brother Walter. When he died in 1919, Ellen Pyle decided to return to illustration to support her four children. She worked up sample illustrations and planned to go to New York City seeking commissions. But before she was able to make the trip, her sister-in-law, the artist Katharine Pyle, took three of Ellens samples to The Saturday Evening Post offices in Philadelphia . Greatly impressed, the editor bought two of the three.
A prolific illustrator during the 1920s, Ellen Pyle created covers for Parents Magazine, Pictorial Review, and Everybodys Magazine. But she was most famous for her 40 covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Along with Norman Rockwell and J. C. Leyendecker, Ellen Pyle was one of the select regular cover artists for The Saturday Evening Post from 1922 until her death in 1936. She was one of relatively few women illustrators of the time who did covers for general interestrather than womensmagazines. Pyles models for the most part were her children and people in her community of Wilmington , Delaware , and the surrounding region.