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Delaware Art Museum EXPOSED!


For the museum-lover or avid culture tourist, a large, encyclopedic museum such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art or even the Philadelphia Museum of Art represents hours of continued amusement. Exploring the maze-like halls in wing after wing of art and artifacts fills a day’s worth of activity. There is truly something to be said, however, for the smaller art museum that can focus on a specific area of collection and can be seen in its entirety without sacrificing a days time. One such museum is the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, DE. Between their new exhibition Exposed!, Revealing Sources in Contemporary Art, which opened last weekend and the collections of Pre-Raphaelite art and late 19th/early 20th century illustration, the Delaware Art Museum is definitely worth a couple hours of your time. 

Complete with a small, outdoor sculpture garden of large modern and contemporary works and installations, the Delaware Art Museum is known for its collection of artwork by Howard Pyle. Boasting a substantial collection spanning the entirety of his career, The Delaware Art Museum acquired the Pyle Collection because the family is from the Brandywine Valley. Known best for his storybook illustrations, Pyle’s work was published in The New Yorker. He wrote and illustrated wonderful stories about pirates, cowboys, pioneers and folklore. During his career, Pyle lived and worked in Philadelphia, and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. 

While at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, one of Pyle’s prodigious students married his brother. Ellen B. T. Pyle put her career on hiatus to raise her children, but when her husband passed away she returned to illustration to support her family. And, in turn, they supported her for she was celebrated for her depictions of children --for which hers modeled. Decorating numerous Saturday Evening Post covers, Ellen B. T. Pyle received acknowledgment for her talent by another famous artist working for the Saturday Evening Post: Norman Rockwell. The Delaware Art Museum set up a fascinating exhibition about Ellen B. T. Pyle, complete with personal items she used to model her illustrations and the letter Norman Rockwell wrote to her praising her talent. 

Last weekend, the Delaware Art Museum revealed their latest temporary exhibition, Exposed! Revealing Sources in Contemporary Art. The exhibition displays original works of art paired with the items that inspired the artists to create the art. Predominantly modern and post-modern work, the exhibition includes artwork by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Prince, Glenn Ligon and Grace Hartigan. While thought-provoking and insightful, this exhibition is on the smaller side and seems slightly disjointed. The big name artists exhibited such as Andy Warhol or Robert Rauschenberg seem to be included solely on their fame. Exposed! would have benefited from a more clearly delineated theme or contextualization. For example, much of the work contained political messages (including Warhol’s Mao portraits). Beyond exposing the sources for artists work, the exhibition could have drawn stronger statements about artists' inspirations of civil rights, feminism, or international politics. The exhibition showcases a lot of fascinating work; and the text panels and descriptions are incredibly well-written and informed. All in all, a visit to the Delaware Art Museum should be added to any day trip.  

Delaware Art Museum is located outside the downtown Wilmington area in a residential neighborhood. The best way to get there is to drive (directions available at their website). Another option is to take the SEPTA R2 or Amtrak trains to Wilmington and hail a cab from the train station. A cab will cost you close to $15. 


2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, Delaware 19806

Wednesday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 4:00 p.m.
Monday – Tuesday: Closed

Free Admission
Museum Members: Free admission every day
Sundays: Free* admission all day
*Museum admission is waived every Sunday thanks to support from: AstraZeneca 

Paid Admission (Wednesday – Saturday for Non-Members)
Adults: $12.00
Seniors (60+): $10.00
Students (w/valid ID): $6.00
Youth (ages 7-18): $6.00
Children (6 and under): Free
Families (up to 2 adults and 4 youth): $25