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Allan Freelon: Painter, Printmaker, Teacher Exhibit

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Allan Freelon: Painter, Printmaker, Teacher Exhibit

Since 2020, Brandywine has acquired 24 works by the Philadelphia born artist and educator Allan Randall Freelon. This exhibition endeavors to introduce audiences to Freelon’s life and work with a spotlight on these recent acquisitions.

Born in 1895 to a middle-class family, Freelon received almost all of his artistic education in the city where he grew up and worked his entire life.

He attended many of Philadelphia’s leading educational institutions including the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (now the University of the Arts, 1912-1916), Philadelphia School of Pedagogy (now University of Pennsylvania, 1919), University of Pennsylvania (bachelor’s degree, 1924), the Barnes Foundation (1927-1929), and Tyler School of Art of Temple University (master’s degree, 1943).

He also studied privately with Earl Horter and Dox Thrash, two of Philadelphia’s best-known printmakers. In 1921, Freelon was the first African American member of the Print Club of Philadelphia. He taught lithography at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1940-1946.

Freelon was a U.S. Army veteran of World War I, serving as Second Lieutenant. After the War he taught art in the Philadelphia public school system, where he was soon appointed assistant director of art education for the entire city, the first African American to hold the position. Over summer breaks from school, he traveled to Gloucester, Massachusetts, an established summer residence of a number of artists. His scenes of Gloucester harbor display the influence of Hugh Breckenridge, a teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, who also summered there.

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