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WC History: Horace Pippin's West Chester

Detail from Horace Pippin by Julius Blockimage: Detail from Horace Pippin by Julius Block

First published May 6, 2015; updated June 23, 2016 | Malcolm Johnstone

West Chester PA -- In 2015, the Brandywine River Museum of Art presented the first major exhibition of the works of Horace Pippin (1888-1946) in more than 20 years. Over 60 works were displayed by this wonderful West Chester artist.

Horace Pippin is esteemed for his bold, colorful and candid paintings that comment on race, religion, war and history. According to museum officials, Pippin's work will be examined by a new generation of scholars looking at such issues as influence, racial and religious politics along with the artist's world view.

He lived and painted in West Chester from 1920 to his death in 1946 creating some 140 works. He drew inspiration from local buildings and neighborhood scenes and it was in West Chester that he began to receive recognition for his artistry that soon made him the first nationally acclaimed African-American artist.

No artist is more honored in West Chester than Horace Pippin. Below are just some of the places that are connected to this great artist.

Historic Marker  HISTORIC MARKER
Located at 327 West Gay Street, West Chester, is the row home (currently a private residence) that Horace Pippin shared with his wife, Jennie Ora Featherstone Wade Giles, from 1920 until his death in 1946. More at Explore PA History, Historic Marker .

Harmonizing  HARMONIZING
The artist depiction of his own neighborhood.

There is a strong regional focus to the street corner vignette depicted in Harmonizing, as there is in many of the artist's works. According to one of Pippin's neighbors during the early 1940s, the painting is set on the corner of West Gay and Hannum Streets in West Chester, and according to local legend, the artist enjoyed painting on street corners in the neighborhood. The steeple appears to be that of St. Agnes Church on West Gay St.  See more at

Court House  COURT HOUSE
Depiction of the Chester County Courthouse

Most of the elements in this painting can still be seen at the historic Courthouse located at High and Market Streets in downtown West Chester.

Man on a Bench  MAN ON A BENCH
Horace Pippin's last painting, the red bench as been maintained in Everhart Park in honor of Pippin's artistic and social contributions (the bench is near Miner and Everhart Streets).

Gravestone for Horace Pippin  Horace Pippin is buried at the Chestnut Grove Annex Cemetery on Pottstown Pike just north of West Chester. The gravestone can be found at the north end of the cemetery.

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