Tag: David Gilmour Blythe

  • The News Boys, by David Gilmour Blythe

    If you had bought a newspaper in Pittsburgh in about 1850, you probably would have bought it from a child like these. David Gilmour Blythe, Pittsburgh’s master caricaturist, produced a small masterpiece of a character study here. It hangs on a whole wall of David Gilmour Blythe paintings in the Carnegie Museum of Art; the curators date it to some time from 1846 to 1852.

  • Two by David Gilmour Blythe

    Because we cannot get to the museum right now, old Pa Pitt is bringing the museum to you. Here are two by Pittsburgh’s great satirical painter David Gilmour Blythe. Above, Good Times (c. 1854-1858). Below, Temperance Pledge (c. 1856-1860). They make a good pair. Both are in the Carnegie Museum of Art.

  • Pittsburgh Piety, by David Gilmour Blythe

    Old Pa Pitt does not know what church this is meant to represent, but he suspects a Presbyterian church: the preacher is clearly the main attraction, but the Gothic details suggest the commercial wealth that Pittsburgh Presbyterians have traditionally been known for. This painting hangs on the wall of Blythe paintings at the Carnegie; the curators date it 1860-1862.

  • Post Office, by David Gilmour Blythe

    This is probably David Gilmour Blythe’s masterpiece, although old Pa Pitt would certainly listen to arguments in favor of The Coal Carrier. It has all the comical details you expect from one of his larger paintings, perfectly executed and worked into an overall composition that is also just about perfect. And yet there is perhaps a whiff of tragedy in the midst of the comedy: this was probably painted during the Civil War (Blythe didn’t date most of his paintings, so we’re just guessing), when you would have seen a crush at the General Delivery window every time the mail came in, because hundreds of people were waiting to hear whether their sons and brothers and husbands were still alive.

    The strange power of Blythe is that he paints humanity at its worst, and yet we come away thinking that humanity is worth saving after all.