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Tom Bostelle (1925-2005) was a painter and sculptor and a lifelong resident of Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA. He established himself as a bold, independent experimenter who eventually combined the rich tradition of illustration in his native Chester County as exemplified by Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth with the rich European modernist tradition as exemplified by Cezanne and Picasso. Bostelle reconciled these two traditions through his concentration on shadows to produce a body of work that is distinctively his own.

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Career

Bostelle attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts briefly, but was primarily self-taught. Early on in his career he met Horace Pippin, the African-American folk artist, and did the only portrait of Pippin from the life. The portrait is now part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. Bostelle also won an N.C. Wyeth prize from the Chester County Art Association while still very young. After serving in the Army during World War II, he began the first of his many "shadow" paintings, taking crowds of defeated Japanese soldiers in the aftermath of the war as a symbol of the human condition. In these paintings, distorted shadows crystallize his subjects' moods and suggest their emotions. His interest in the shadow image came from his study of Rembrandt's chiaroscuro technique. He credited Cezanne as a major influence in his early career, and also admired the work of artists as diverse as Giacometti, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

In 1947, he had his first one-man exhibition and rose to prominence alongside Andrew Wyeth. The two artists -- who lived only a couple of miles apart -- frequently exhibited in the same shows.

Bostelle was represented by various galleries in the 1950s and 1960s, including Franz Bader Gallery (Washington, D.C.) and Selected Artists Galleries, Inc, Faragil Gallery, Hewitt Gallery and Bianchini Galleries (New York City), but due to his "notoriously prickly relationship with gallery owners"[1], decided to rely on his own studio and, later, local galleries. His work has been shown at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor; the Museum of Modern Art in Paris; Spoleto Music Festival in Italy, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Corcoran Gallery Loan Library, Washington, D.C.; and the Baltimore Museum Loan Library in Baltimore, Md.

His works are in the permanent collections of the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, Delaware, West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa., as well as countless distinguished private collections worldwide.

Collections

References

  1. ^ Tom Bostelle Exhibition - JOHN CHAMBLESS - Daily Local News, West Chester, PA
  2. ^ Brandywine River Museum presents "Lenape Jesus," a major painting by Tom Bostelle
  3. ^ Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery News - Summer 2001
  4. ^ Delaware Art Museum - Collections - Tom Bostelle

External links

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