Jack Keats and Howard Pyle

By GREG COOK  |  August 17, 2012

Wyeth's paintings are filled with he-men, and Parrish's have a dreamy stillness, but Pyle's people are more natural and nearly always in dramatic action. In The Flying Dutchman (1900), rendered in seasick greens, seawater rushes down the wildly pitched deck. But our perspective matches the masked captain, hauntingly standing sturdy and upright in the gale. In the Revolutionary War scene The Attack upon the Chew House (1898), Pyle stresses the difficulty of the soldiers' charge through the gun smoke to the building by directing the action from right to left — against the way we read. The gray men crash against the stone house like an exhausted wave.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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