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Forgotten Dreams: The Paintings of Edward Grant
November 5, 2008 - February 22, 2009
Forgotten Dreams rediscovers the beauty of the Delmarva Peninsula and reintroduces the work of a local arts hero. This exhibition features never-before seen works by a forgotten master painter, Edward Grant. Born in 1913 in Wilmington's 40-Acre section, Edward Grant studied with some of the state's most significant painters including: N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover and Henryette Stadelman Whiteside. His painting career spanned an astounding 70 years and a wide variety of artistic styles including illustration, murals, Social Realism, Photo Realism, and Abstraction. After a 20-year career with Hercules, Grant retired to the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he continued his life-long love of painting the Delmarva Scene and teaching art classes. (right: Edward Grant, House on the Shore, 1981, oil on canvas)
Forgotten Dreams features the artist's personal collection from his Maryland studio. Presented in a comprehensive format, the exhibition displays a diverse array of the varied techniques and styles Grant utilized. Edward Grant received very little direct attention in the local news; he exhibited infrequently and has never been extensively published. He was to the simplest extent passionate for painting.
Edward Grant: Biographical Sketch
Edward L. Grant was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1907. He grew up in Wilmington's 40 Acre Section attending public school #13 and graduating from Wilmington High School. He began his formal art education with two years at he School of Industrial Arts in Philadelphia. Here he studied under instructors such as Thorton Oakley, a former student of Howard Pyle. In 1928 he enrolled as a student and part-time instructor in the newly opened Wilmington Academy of Art. His fellow students included Ellen Pyle and Anne Dickey Warner, both former students of the Philadelphia Academy and Brandt Alexander, John Moll, Les Reinhartand and Sev Laskowski, his fellow students at the Industrial. Miss Henrietta Stadelman was the school founder and director. The staff included Charles Ryan, Ellen Meeds, Ida E. McFarlane, Gayle Hoskins, Frank Schoonover, N.C. Wyeth, Douglas Duer and Eads Collins with occasional lectures by Harvey Dunn and Charles Hawthorne. Completing his studies in 1930, he was awarded the first European scholarship given by the school.
After returning from his European studies, Grant shared a rented studio with Brandt Alexander at Shallcross Avenue and Rodney Street in Wilmington. Here Ed painted, worked as a freelance illustrator and continued to teach at te Wilmington Academy of art. Grant and Brandt also worked as assistants to Frank Schoonover and Gayle Hoskins, successful illustrators with studio spaces nearby. During this period, Grant began friendships with Harvey Dunn and Stanley Arthurs, both former students of Howard Pyle and successful illustrators and painters. He also became friends with Walter Pyle, brother of his classmate Ellen Pyle, and the Pyle's mother, also named Ellen, a successful children's book illustrator for the likes of the Saturday Evening Post. Through the Pyle family, Grant became friends with N.C. Wyeth whose attitude advocating a creative lifestyle strongly influenced Edward Grant.
Edward Grant was heavily involved in the Delaware art scene. He taught at the Wilmington Academy of the Art and the Studio Group and was active with Arts Club, serving as President in 1937. He was one of the original signers of the Rehoboth Art League's "Doors of Fame" in 1938. He was supervisor for the WPA/FAP mural program in Delaware and painted murals throughout the State and region. In 1938 he married Harriet Barkley and moved to a house on Marsh Road north of Arden, an artist colony north of Wilmington. During these years, the couple spent their summers in Round Pond, Maine where Grant continued to develop his distinctive style of painting. In 1941, their only child, Alex, was born.
In the war years, with a family to support, Edward Grant accepted full-time employment as Art Director of Hercules Powder Company, in Wilmington, which had been on of his principal clients as a freelance illustrator. During his years with Heercules, Grant continued to develop his own artistic style, to teach art classes, and to compete and sell works regularly. He served n the Board of Directors of the Wilmington Society of Fine Art and was Treasurer of the organization in the 1960s. He remained at Hercules until his retirement in 1968.
After his retirement and in the last 30 years of his life, Edward Grant created some of his finest and most developed expressions of his artistic style. He moved to the town of Neavitt on Maryland's Eastern Shore and used this location as base to roam the tidewater country of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina for unique sources of material for his art. Upon entering the Eastern Shore culture, he became active with the Easton Academy of Art (now the Art Academy Museum) where he taught classes. He served as Academy President from 1971 to 1973 and was responsible for establishing the Academy's first paid employee, a curator. Grant was also an active volunteer at the Maritime Museum in St. Michaels and in teaching art classes at the St. Michaels High School.
(above: Edward Grant, Untitled, n.d., relief print)
(above: Edward Grant, Untitled, probably 1950s, oil on canvas)
(above: Edward Grant, Untitled, 1969, watercolor on paper)
Label text from the exhibition