The Milford art community welcomed a new arrival to the downtown area on Tuesday, July 10. Placed beside the Mispillion Riverfront on Walnut Street a reproduction of Howard Pyle’s painting The Mermaid was hung for residents to enjoy. The life-size painting will be on display on the side of the Good News Food building across from the Riverfront Theatre.
The artwork is part of the Delaware Art Museum’s surprise pop-up art campaign titled Art Is Everywhere that highlights the museum’s year-long Centennial Celebration. “Pop-up” art is an outdoor museum exhibition that uses main streets and landmark outdoor spaces as its gallery space. Realistic reproductions of works of art are printed to scale, framed, and then installed in pedestrian-friendly outdoor locations including parks, the sides of public or private buildings and other locations where people gather.
Installations of the pop-up art was completed in 15 locations across the State of Delaware and Milford was chosen to represent Kent and Sussex Counties as a newly celebrated art town.
“Milford was a spot that we chose because of the growing art scene that is becoming apparent to the rest of the state,” commented Molly Keresztury, Manager of Marketing & Public Relations at the Delaware Art Museum. “The Mispillion Art League has been one of the most active partners in our Centennial Celebration and we wanted to have a program that included them.”
The Mermaid and its creator Howard Pyle hold a special place in the hearts of Delaware art lovers. He was the inspiration for the founding of the Delaware Art Museum in 1912 as the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Pyle is one of America’s most popular illustrators, artists and writers. The Delaware Art Museum has a remarkable collection of his works and personal papers in their collection
The original of Pyle’s The Mermaid was given to the Delaware Art Museum in 1940 as a gift of the children of Howard Pyle in memory of their mother, Anne Poole Pyle. The work of art illustrates a shipwrecked man being rescued from an angry sea by a mermaid as the moon rises in the background. The Mermaid was found unfinished on his easel in his studio when he set off for Florence, Italy to study mural painting. Pyle died while he was there, due to a sudden kidney infection, and his full intentions for the piece were never realized.