Old College West Gallery
April 6-May 15, 2016
Born in Wilmington in 1916, Edward L. Loper, Sr. graduated from Howard High School, then the only secondary school for black students in Delaware. The first black artist to have a painting accepted to a juried show at the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts, now the Delaware Art Museum, Loper’s tenacity, training and innate skill were evident throughout his career. During the 1930s, he would work for over five years for the government-sponsored Works Progress Administration; in 1945 his work was included in the groundbreaking exhibition, The Negro Artist Comes of Age: A National Survey of Contemporary American Artists in Albany, NY.*
Although his paintings from these years are greatly admired and sought after, Loper himself would insist that only when he began his studies at the Barnes Foundation in the 1960s did he begin to see. In Wilmington, he became a revered and inspiring teacher, and continued to paint until shortly before his death in 2011. On view in this exhibition are works representing the span of Loper’s career from 1941 to 2011.
The presence of works by Wilmington artist Edward L. Loper, Sr. in the University Collection dates back to 1967, with the purchase of Buildings, made possible by a gift of the class of 1941. Over three decades would pass before the University acquired Winter Still life and the portrait, Benoit Coté in 2003. The following year, the artist and his wife Janet V. Neville-Loper promised to the University of Delaware those paintings that remained in their possession after their passing. But since the artist’s death in 2011, Janet has worked to ensure that not only these, but other paintings came to the University. As word of the collection spreads, other gifts are given, even including a painting that Loper gave as a Christmas present to a friend and student, Dr. Norman Cannon.
To learn more about Edward L. Loper, Sr.:
- Edward Loper: African American Painter, film from Hagley Museum and Library: http://www.hagley.org/librarynews/hagley-film-african-american-painter-edward-loper-sr-now-available-online
- “Oral history interview with Edward L. Loper, 1964 Mar. 26,” from the Archives of American Art: http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-edward-l-loper-12531
Banner image: Edward Loper, Houses along the Delaware River near Claymont, ca. 1950. Oil on canvas. Given to the University Museums by Claudia Cannon Rash and Marc Rash in memory of Reba and Norman Cannon. © University Museums, the artists, or their representatives
Saturday, April 9, 12-2 p.m.
Lecture and Reception
“Edward L. Loper, Sr., Art Educator”
Brian Scott Miller
The lecture will occur at 12 p.m. in Willard Hall Education Building Room 104 (16 West Main St.). The reception will occur in Old College Lobby (18 East Main St.) after the lecture. Old College Gallery will be open for viewing 12-5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org and (302) 831-8037
Willard Hall Education Building and Old College West Gallery
Wednesday, May 18, 5-7 p.m.
Old College and Mechanical Hall Galleries