Biggs Museum of American Art

Dover, Delaware



The Landscapes of Frank E. Schoonover


The Biggs Museum presents a new exhibition, Beyond Illustration: "The Landscapes of Frank E. Schoonover," which opens Wednesday, July 19, 2000. The fourth in the Museum's annual exhibitions of Schoonover's work, this year's display is the first ever to look beyond the artist's vast output as an illustrator and focus on the landscapes he created. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum from July 19 to September 17, 2000.

Delaware artist Frank E. Schoonover (1877-1972) is well known for his career as an illustrator. He illustrated over one hundred books and more than thirty periodicals during his lifetime. To complement the Biggs Museum's extensive holdings of Schoonover's work, annual exhibitions of borrowed paintings have examined his early works and illustrations. This year's theme concentrates on the lesser-known Delaware and Pennsylvania landscapes that Schoonover painted.

Although Frank Schoonover traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, as well as other countries, like Italy in 1907, he had an affinity for the local landscapes of the Delaware River Valley and the Brandywine Valley. Born August 19, 1877 in Oxford, New Jersey, he and his family eventually settled in Trenton, New Jersey near the Delaware River. As a youth he spent part of each summer with his grandmother in Bushkill, Pike County, Pennsylvania. In a 1958 letter, Schoonover reminisced that this time at Bushkill "was the beginning of my making pictures of bridges and streams."

During the summers of 1898 and 1899, when Schoonover attended Howard Pyle's summer art school at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, he continued painting landscapes. In 1898 he sold his first painting, a landscape of the Brandywine, which was part of a student exhibition at Turner's Mills. In 1914 Schoonover returned to the site of his early artistic inspiration and acquired his first summer studio on the second floor of Hemingway's Mill in Bushkill, Pennsylvania. Later, he built a larger summer studio on his own property, where he worked.

The exhibition features several early paintings of Bushkill shortly after Schoonover established a studio there, as well as views painted later in his career. Two small paintings show Hemingway's Mill and the summer studio from 1914-15. In the late 1930s after the decline in the popularity of illustration, Schoonover devoted himself almost exclusively to landscape painting. Paintings of Alapocas Woods and a New Castle farm are Delaware scenes that date to this period. The Delaware River is the subject of various paintings in the exhibition. The majority of the Schoonover landscape paintings are borrowed from private collectors including Schoonover's descendants and are unlikely to be exhibited together again.

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on July 19th.

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Biggs Museum of American Art.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/2/11

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2011 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.