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PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

Horace Pippin
BIRMINGHAM MEETING HOUSE IN SPRING
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 300,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
18

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

Horace Pippin
BIRMINGHAM MEETING HOUSE IN SPRING
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 300,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

|
New York

Horace Pippin
1888 - 1946
BIRMINGHAM MEETING HOUSE IN SPRING
inscribed FROM H. PIPPIN, 327 W. GAY ST/WEST CHESTER P.A. (on an original label affixed to the reverse)
oil on canvasboard
17 5/8 by 23 7/8 inches
(44.8 by 60.6 cm)
Painted in 1940.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

We are grateful for the research conducted by Anne Monahan, author of the forthcoming publication, Horace Pippin, American Modern (Yale University Press, 2020).

Provenance

Carlen Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Curtin Winsor and Elizabeth Roosevelt Winsor, Rosemont, Pennsylvania, 1940
Carlen Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Acquired by the present owner from the above, by 1966

Exhibited

Birmingham, Pennsylvania, Octagonal Schoolhouse, 250th Anniversary of the Birmingham Meeting, October 1940
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Art Alliance, Horace Pippin Memorial Exhibition, April-May 1947, no. 26, n.p. (as Birmingham Meeting House No. 3)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Museum of Fine Art, Carnegie Institute; Washington, D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Three Self-Taught Pennsylvania Artists: Hicks, Kane, Pippin, October 1966-February 1967, illustrated p. 102
New York, ACA Galleries, Four American Primitives: Edward Hicks, John Kane, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, Horace Pippin, February-March 1972, no. 52, n.p., illustrated
Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection; New York, Terry Dintenfass Gallery; Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum, Horace Pippin, February-September 1977, no. 26, illustrated n.p.

Literature

Daily Local News, October 8, 1940, Township Clippings Files, Birmingham Township Churches, Society of Friends—Orthodox, Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, Pennsylvania, n.p.
Selden Rodman, Horace Pippin: A Negro Painter in America, New York, 1947, no. 56, p. 84 (as Birmingham Meeting House IV, 1942)
Judith E. Stein, I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1993, pp. 84, 198, illustrated fig. 72, p. 91
(forthcoming) Anne Monahan, Horace Pippin, American Modern, New Haven, Connecticut, 2020, illustrated n.p.

Catalogue Note

We are grateful to Anne Monahan for preparing the following essay:

Birmingham Meeting House in Spring
is one of four paintings that Horace Pippin completed in 1940-41 of a local landmark in Birmingham Township, Pennsylvania, about four miles from his home in West Chester. The site was built in 1763 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), whose members colonized the state in the seventeenth century, and similar houses of worship are still in use across the region.  

As a wounded combat veteran of World War I, Pippin may have been sensitive to the meetinghouse’s history as a battlefield hospital in the Revolutionary War. Even so, he almost certainly took up the subject at the invitation of Christian Brinton, who was organizing an exhibition to mark the 250th anniversary of the meeting founded by his ancestor. The invitation is unsurprising because Brinton and Pippin had been collaborating since 1937, when the curator organized the artist’s first solo show in a move that burnished both their reputations.

Pippin developed Birmingham Meeting House in Spring after selling the first and largest iteration (Birmingham Meeting House, Myron Kunin Collection of American Art, Eden Prairie, Minnesota) in January 1940 to Violette de Mazia, associate of the collector Albert C. Barnes, a key champion of Pippin. The artist debuted the new painting in Brinton’s show in October as part of a day of festivities that attracted upwards of six hundred visitors to the site. News coverage named him, along with N.C. Wyeth, and Daniel Garber, among those with paintings of the building on view. He subsequently included Birmingham Meeting House in Late Summer (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.) in his 1940 solo show in New York and planned a fourth treatment for his 1941 solo show in Philadelphia, which he eventually completed as Birmingham Meeting House in Summertime of 1941 (Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania)

Much of this history has been effaced since Selden Rodman supplanted Pippin’s seasonal titles with Birmingham Meeting House I–IV (1940-42) in his landmark publication Horace Pippin: A Negro Painter in America of 1947, the first monograph devoted to an African American artist. That sequence imputes to the project a false coherence, establishes an erroneous order of production, and overstates the duration of Pippin’s engagement with the theme.

Pippin sold all four paintings quickly to prominent local collectors. Within days of the anniversary show, Curtin Winsor and his wife Elizabeth Roosevelt Winsor acquired Birmingham Meeting House in Spring with an enthusiasm typical of the Main Line elites who drove Pippin’s market in the early 1940s. They almost certainly obtained it from his Philadelphia dealer in exchange for Portrait of My Wife (Private collection), one of two canvases they bought at the opening of Pippin’s show in January. The painting was then in its current frame, which corresponds to those on other works by the artist.

American Art

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New York