Patrons ranged from Albert Barnes and Edith Halpert to Hollywood figures such as Charles Laughton and Edward G. Robinson. Among the works in the exhibition is “The End of the War: Starting Home (1930-33),” a seminal work representing the horrors of a war that Pippin would later say “brought out all the art in me.” A muted palette with bursts of red evokes the sense of desolation amidst the chaos of battle. It is Pippin’s first known oil painting, demonstrating his early method of building layer upon layer of pigment in an almost sculptural manner. Pippin was an astute observer and well informed about the subjects he undertook, especially history. He completed two major series with historical themes, one on the life of the abolitionist John Brown, and the other on Abraham Lincoln. “John Brown Going to His Hanging” (1942) is one of Pippin’s most visually and emotionally engaging paintings. Brown is portrayed at the center, sitting atop his coffin while being driven to the gallows. While the crowd looks on, a figure to the far right stares out from the painting, representing Pippin’s mother who was said to have witnessed the event. The exhibition will be on display until July 19.
Also on view, through Aug. 23, is “Pointed Pens: Selected Cartoons from the Permanent Collection,” a fascinating collection of more than 30 works created between 1880 and 1945, selected from the museum’s rich collection of American illustration. From the maze-like contraptions drawn by Rube Goldberg to the incisive political sketches of Thomas Nast, cartoons rivet public attention to issues of the day through their comic wit and visual satire. “Pointed Pens” includes cartoons by some of America’s most famous illustrators of the late 19th through early 20th centuries, including Oscar Cesare, Charles Dana Gibson, John Held Jr., Edward Kemble, Rockwell Kent, Orson Lowell, Rose O’Neill, Frederic Burr Opper and many others. Their drawings show a variety of styles and techniques that render incisive visual opinions about topical events, from political issues, business practices and social morés, to even the act of viewing art. www.brandywine.org