The Philadelphia Connection

Homegrown artists on display in the city

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Swann Memorial Fountain on Logan Circle.

Swann Memorial Fountain

Artwork, by Alexander Stirling Calder

On view at Logan Circle

William Penn stands on top of City Hall

William Penn

Artwork, by Alexander Milne Calder

On view at City Hall

Artist in His Museum by Charles Willson Peale at PAFA

Artist in His Museum

Artwork, by Charles Willson Peale

On view at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

River with Stone Bridge

River With Stone Bridge

Artwork, by Charles Lawrence

On view at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Description

The City of Brotherly Love is not only home to great art, but also to the artists who made it. Philadelphia artists created many of the art works you’ll find in the museums, gardens and public spaces along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

 

This tour highlights the connection between Philadelphia and the native sons who left a significant impact on art history, including 19th century realist Thomas Eakins, Revolutionary War portrait painter Charles Wilson Peale, and three generations sculptors from the Calder family.

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Benjamin Franklin Parkway
between 18th and 20th Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Swann Memorial Fountain

Large Native American figures, a pike, water-spurting frogs and turtles, and, of course, a swan, adorn this fountain that serves as a memorial to Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder the Philadelphia Fountain Society. Made in 1924, Alexander Stirling Calder's version of a traditional “river god” sculpture symbolizes the area’s major streams: the Delaware, the Schuylkill, and the Wissahickon. Calder is the son of William Milne Calder, who created the statue of William Penn that sits atop City Hall, and the father of Alexander Calder, whose Ghost mobile dangles inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the other end of the Parkway.
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Broad Street and Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

William Penn

Today it seems an unimaginable feat. Alexander Milne Calder, the first of the famous Calder family, created not only the statue of William Penn on City Hall Tower, but also most of the other 250-plus sculptures that adorn the massive building.

118-128 N. Broad Street
(Broad and Cherry Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19102

The Gross Clinic

An American realist painter, photographer sculptor and fine arts educator, Thomas Eakins is best known for this exacting portraits of Philadelphia’s thinking class, and for taking the portrait out of the drawing room and into the real world. Of his several hundred portraits, The Gross Clinic is his most famous, and perhaps greatest. His largest work, it depicts Dr. Samuel D. Gross presenting a surgical lecture beside a cadaver in an amphitheater packed with Jefferson Medical College students.

118-128 N. Broad Street
(Broad and Cherry Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Artist in His Museum

Commissioned by the Peale Museum and painted at age 81, this self-portrait is a celebration of Charles Willson Peale’s career as an artist, naturalist, educator and showman. He painted it to promote his dream to “bring into public view the beauties of nature and art, the rise and progress of the Museum.” Peale is best known for his portraits of soldiers of the American Revolution, including George Washington, and for his role in founding one of the nation’s first museums. Born in Maryland, Peale came to Philadelphia in support of the emerging government and settled in an estate on the campus of La Salle University, which can still be visited today.
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2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

River With Stone Bridge

Though he originally hailed from Bordentown, New Jersey, Charles Lawrence was very active in the Philadelphia art scene. Between 1811 and 1832 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts he exhibited landscapes, portraits and copy work, such as this landscape documenting the grounds of the Bordentown estate of Joseph Bonaparte (the former King of Spain)