Philadelphia of the Good Bones

Art — Produced by Michael O’Reilly

Nathaniel Popkin writes about a great many things, but to hear him tell it, many of those things have a Philadelphia connection. His most recent book, LION AND LEOPARD, takes place in the early 1800’s in Philadelphia. FRIDAY ARTS found him at the Woodmere Art Museum holding forth on the 2014 Woodmere Annual Juried Exhibit (curated this year by Sarah McEneaney). It turned out to be no surprise to anyone, that in his opening remarks, he found a connection separated by almost 200 years. He expounded on the link he saw between the work of painter Charles Willson Peale and that of Sarah McEneaney, and the similarity between their civic-minded pursuits. Both were painters, but Peale wanted to improve Philadelphia with museums and McEneaney wants to improve her neighborhood with an elevated green space (think the High Line in Philadelphia). Popkin discovers a stronger connection than even he knows as McEneaney reveals that the motif of one of her paintings was inspired directly from Peale himself, asserting once again that the pace of change in Philadelphia is slow.

Web Extra: About Lion and Leopard

Lion and Leopard is a recently Philadelphia published Literary Historical Fiction novel written by Nathaniel Popkin. The origin of this book originates from the mysterious death of John Lewis Krimmel in 1821 at a mill pond where upstream, there was Charles Willson Peale frantically trying to build a mill but failing. Krimmel was an innovative urban street scene artist ahead of his time and slightly unwelcomed for his free will to include all kinds of races and classes in his art, while Peale was an eminent artist and founder of museums. Popkin gives us a glimpse of this impactful mysterious death of Krimmel and intrigues us by telling us more about the fact that these two prominent artist knew each other. Were they rivals? What happened? Did Peale accidentally affect the death of Krimmel? Or was there something more to this death? Edited by Michelle Saul-Yamasaki.

Web Extra: The Head and the Hand Press: Book Publishing in Philadelphia

Nic Esposito shares how the Head and the Hand Press has been innovative in its approach to publishing. Edited by Alex Hutflus.

Web Extra: Charles Willson Peale

Nathaniel Popkin, author of Lion and Leopard, talks about the famous Charles Willson Peale, who is a character in his new historical fiction novel. Charles Willson Peale was a man of ambition and ingenuity who came to be a prominent leader in the arts and natural sciences for the new growing country of the United States of America. Edited by Michelle Saul-Yamasaki.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal