About the artist:
In 1896 a talented young artist named Frank Schoonover (born in Oxford, N.J. in 1877) left his grandparents summer home in Bushkill, Pa to begin his art education in summer school at Chadd's Ford Pa. and later at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia where he would further develop his talents under the instruction of renowned art teacher and painter, Howard Pyle. Thus, began a life long journey for young Frank that would enhance and develop his skills, take him to high adventure in the Canadian arctic, the American West and South, Alaska, Jamaica and elsewhere.
His travels would allow him to become one of America's most talented and sought after illustrators and painters of his day. In addition he would publish many accounts of his adventures in some of the most popular magazines of the times such as Scribner's and Harpers Weekly. After later moving to Wilmington, Delaware he would meet other soon to be legendary artists like N.C. Wyeth (father of Andrew Wyeth and grandfather of Jamie Wyeth ) . He would later become friends with another young artist/illusrator destined for notoriety named Norman Rockwell.
Schoonover illustrated over 120 books including Treasure Island, Kidnapped , Hans Brinker and Blackbeard as well as many Jack London and Zane Grey stories. His mentor, Howard Pyle would encourage his students to travel, learn the cultures, and live the action scenes they would later paint. At age 26 in 1903 he began his most celebrated epic adventure when he would travel by dog sled and snowshoes for over 1200 miles in the Canadian wilderness at Hudson's Bay, 200 miles north of Quebec City. There he would learn the customs and culture of its indigenous peoples and later paint and write about it with his inimitable vivid, action oriented yet sensitive, respectful style. He would publish articles on his exploits and capture his adventures on canvas and in beautiful prose in his book: Edge of the Wilderness - A Portrait of the Canadian North. The book was edited by Cortland Schoonover, Frank's son and John's father.
Later, Frank would use photography during his travels to gather compositional materials in places such as Scranton's coal mines and silk mills adding social documentarian to his many talents. Research has begun on a book about his photographs titled: Through His Own Lens. Frank Schoonover painted over 2000 works of art as one of America's most popular illustrators. Some of his works now sell for tens of thousands of dollars with at least one painting estimated to be worth a six figure sum on PBS television's popular program, Antique Auction. In 2018 Frank Schoonover's life and art were commemorated with a special exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. Many of his paintings are on display and housed at the University of Delaware Art Museum, the Brandywine Art Museum at Chadd's Ford, Pa., the Glenbow-Alberta Institute in Calgary, numerous private collections and at Frank's historic studio in Wilmington, Delaware managed by Frank's grandson, John Schoonover. An avid trout fisherman, Frank, frequently fished many Canadian waters, the Delaware River, Bushkill Creek and other Pocono streams. He owned a bamboo fly rod made by local Stroudsburg craftsman, Lou Schauer, which will be on display with some of Frank's prints.
Frank Schoonover's adventure filled life in the outdoors and his exquisite paintings represent the finest works of The Golden Age of Illustration in American art history. Join us for this special program at the Brodhead Creek Heritage Center to honor and celebrate one of the Poconos' most talented native sons.
NOTE: Early arrivals and those wishing to stay a bit late can enjoy the program's venue at the new Brodhead Creek Heritage Center building and its wonderful historical displays on famous personages from the past who have trout fished on the Brodhead Creek and stayed at nearby 19th century inns like the Henryville House (guests included Teddy Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Gifford Pinchot and even Annie Oakley among many others). Other displays include historic sites and lodges of the Poconos, local art displays, collections of hand crafted bamboo fly rods and digital maps among other items of interest. Visitors can also enjoy an easy, accessible walk along the legendary Brodhead Creek at the Forevergreen Nature Preserve which is adjacent to the BCHC building. The Brodhead Creek is famously known as "The Birthplace of Flyfishing in America" and open year round for wild trout fishing.