Born: Wilmington, Delaware 1853
Died: Florence, Italy 1911
Very important illustrator, muralist, author, teacher
Pyle was educated at Friends’ schools. When he indicated skill at drawing, he was for three years the pupil of Van der Weilen in Philadelphia. After an interval of work in his father’s leather business, he went to New York City in 1876 to seek a career as an illustrator. After months of discouragement, advice from Abbey, Frost, and F S Church aided him in his first sale, a double-page spread for Harper’s Weekly in 1878. When he returned to Wilmington in 1880 he was fully established as an illustrator.
A large and jovial man, he specialized in historical subjects and in pictures for the children’s books he wrote. From 1894 to 1900 he taught illustration at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia to such painters as Maxfield Parrish. In 1900 he established his own school in Wilmington, with a limited number of students and no charges. He trained WHD Koerner, Arthurs, and Schoonover. His pupil NC Wyeth taught Peter Hurd who guided John Meigs. His pupil Harvey Dunn taught Von Schmidt who helped Will James and William Moyers. Pyle could be called both America’s most important illustrator and most important teacher of illustrators.
Resource: SAMUELS’ Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing