Biggs Museum in Dover to Open Illustration Gallery

City Theater Company unleashes their 10-minute plays, witness “The Full Monty,” at The New Candlelight Theatre, an ode to Valentine’s Day at the Newark Art Alliance and more.


Big at the Biggs: Schoonover

The Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, one of the largest collectors of works by famed local illustrator Frank Schoonover, will soon open the Frank E. Schoonover Gallery of American Illustration. The museum joined with The Schoonover Fund, established in 1999 to support research for the Frank E. Schoonover Catalogue “Raisonné,” which pledged $12,500 in matching funds to generate more than $25,000 for the new gallery. The space will be on the third floor of the recently renovated museum, its walls painted cadium red as tribute to Schoonover’s use of the color in many of his paintings. “The board of the fund extends many thanks to those who have given to make this possible,” says John Schoonover, grandson of the illustrator, who orchestrated the matching grant. “Visitors to the Biggs Museum and Frank E. Schoonover Gallery of American Illustration will enjoy significant Schoonover works and memorabilia for years to come.” The Schoonover gallery changes on a regular basis, so repeat visits are encouraged. Frank E. Schoonover (1877-1972) is recognized as one of America’s foremost illustrators. The Biggs, realizing the importance of its Schoonover collection, decided it needed a gallery of its own. The Biggs houses more than 40 of Schoonover’s works, including such renowned paintings as “Morgan’s Point was at His Throat” (1935), “Masked Indian Dancer” (1935) and “Vidette in Pirogue” (1911). Since its establishment more than 20 years ago, the Biggs M has been an advocate of Schoonover’s artistic legacy. Museum founder Sewell C. Biggs, enthusiastically purchased 28 of the illustrator’s finest paintings and drawings. Many other works have been donated over the past 10 years. They span Schoonover’s student days at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia to landscapes following his career as an illustrator. At Drexel Schoonover was accepted into Howard Pyle’s class for aspiring illustrators. By early 1900, Schoonover moved to Wilmington, continuing his studies with Pyle at the mentor’s studios on Franklin Street, launching his career with a commission of four illustrations in the book “A Jersey Boy in the Revolution.” His career spanned over 60 years and produced 2,200 illustrations for over 130 books and many of the popular magazines and periodicals of the day, such as Saturday Evening Post, Harpers, Scribners, Outing, American Boy Magazine, Ladies Home Journal and Colliers. After 1906, Schoonover’s still-extant studio at 1616 N. Rodney St. was the center of this creative activity. His canvases were filled with dramatic images of trappers, Indians, cowboys, pirates, breaker boys, coal miners and women in the Pennsylvania Silk Mills. Writers such as Jack London, Zane Grey, James Gilbert Parker, Henry Van Dyke and George Marsh relished the Schoonover illustrations in their books. As the 1930s closed, and having witnessed the twilight of his illustrative career, Schoonover focused his efforts on the landscape of his youth, especially Pike County, where he spent so many summers at the family Bushkill house, and he produced more than 300 landscapes of the Brandywine and Delaware River valleys. He painted actively until the late 1960s. By the time of his death in 1972, the Delaware Press had acknowledged him as The Dean of Delaware Artists. Subsequently, his son, Cortlandt, authored two books celebrating his contribution to the annals of American art and illustration: “The Edge of the Wilderness” in 1974 and “Frank E. Schoonover, Illustrator, North American Frontier” in 1976. For a full biography on Artist Frank E. Schoonover visit

- Advertisement -

» for more from The Arts Buzz, click here



Feb. 1
Event Since he hit the charts in 1971, Don McLean has made more than 40 gold and platinum records, earning him a place in the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. At The Grand, hear classics such as “Vincent (Starry Starry Night)” and “And I Love You So…” More
Event Philly artist Emily Erb applies the Indian technique of silk painting to her work in “Legal Tender,” which examines the art and use of currency. It opens at Delaware Center for Contemporary Art tonight… More
Event [IN Wilmington Promotional Pick of the Week] City Theater counts down its favorite 10-minute plays in City Theater Company: Best Of 2.0. Brevity, it seems, is indeed the soul of wit More
Event The Delaware Historical Society cordially invites you to celebrate its sesquicentennial anniversary (that’s 150 years) of historic accomplishments. It happens in the historic courthouse on Rodney Square in Wilmington… More

Feb. 1-2
Event Cheer on Evan Goldman as he navigates the horrific perils of adolescence in “13: The Musical” at Wilmington Drama League… More
Event The New Candlelight Theatre starts its season with a tale of unemployed men who grin and, well, bare it in “The Full Monty.” Prepare yourselfMore
Event Clear Space Theatre Company presents a new version of the Broadway hit “The Odd Couple.” Felix and Oscar’s famous differences never cease to amuse… More

Feb. 2
Event The ocean water temperature is hovering around 40 degrees (Fahrenheit), perfect for a refreshing dip. Special Olympics Delaware thanks you for your dunk during the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge… More

Feb. 4
Event Drop in to see all things red during “Mad About Red,” a juried exhibit at Newark Arts Alliance to celebrate the month of romance… More

Feb. 5
Event The Old Ceremony draws plays lush, literate rock. See the band at World Café Live to hear cuts from its six albums... More

Feb. 6
Event A lesson in styles and why working at the barre isn’t as fun as working at the bar, “Why I’m Scared of Dance” is about turning the choreography life gives you into the dance that only you were meant to do. See it at Delaware Theatre Company... More


Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.