Philly Sketch Club turns 150

    Philadelphia is home to the country’s oldest artist club.

    Philadelphia is home to the country’s oldest artist club. Next year, the Philadelphia Sketch Club’s celebrates its 150 Anniversary.

    To commemorate this, preparations are underway for a major regional exhibit. Illustrations by sketch club members, past and present, will be displayed at 15 museums from New York City to the Delaware border.

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    N.C. Wyeth, the illustrator of Treasure Island and the father of Andrew Wyeth, got his first solo show at the Philadelphia Sketch Club in 1912.

    Thomas Eakins also was a member. But he was ousted from the club in 1886 for using nude models in his classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

    Club president Bill Paterson has the documents detailing the controversy.

    Paterson: We hearby charge Mr. Thomas Eakins with conduct unbecoming a gentleman, and discreditable to the organization, and ask for his expulsion from the club.

    Patterson says the club reinstated Eakins 60 years after his death. Other prominent members include the illustrator of the children’s book Br’er Rabbit and landscape artist Thomas Moran.

    The Philadelphia Sketch Club now has on display 125 works, many borrowed from private galleries and collections.

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