One of the great American image-makers, Howard Pyle's last work, the Mermaid features a figurative reproduction of the mythic creature, reflecting the artist’s long-lasting taste for mythological or legendary figures. After a lifetime as a populist illustrator, Pyle's visual narratives would greatly inspire world literature, particularly twentieth-century American literature and film. A year before his death in 1911, the artist journeyed to the opulent surroundings of a crumbling, classical Italy to study the great Masters, giving life to a small body of works depicting haunting, sensual worlds which seem to be imbued with both a child-like innocence and an overt sexuality. An image of opposing forces, Pyle's mythic figure rises to a polarised surface to rescue a shipwrecked sailor. Begun before setting off on his pilgrimage to Italy, the Mermaid was unfinished in his studio upon his death.Touched-up and finished in part by one of his students, Pyle's original intentions for the painting remain unknown.
As a highly respected popular artist in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, Pyle was one of the expanding continent of America's most successful illustrators, rising to the heights of popular acclaim with his immersive visual dramas. Pyle dominated the lucrative market of magazine illustration at a time when weekly and monthly tomes such as Harper’s Monthly, Collier’s Weekly, St. Nicholas, and Scribner’s Magazine, established and consolidated the emerging fragments of an American visual culture into a cohesive whole. Pyle's influence can be seen through the emergence of what could be described as a shared national consciousness. Achieved through the artist's idiosyncratic style, remnants of his taste for drama can be felt in the short stories of the young Hemingway, the bombastic epics of early Silent Cinema and in the pictorial eccentricities of comic book art. This majestical imagined reproduction of a scene of redemption is an eloquent parting gift from a true American master.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of The Mermaid, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of The Mermaid that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.