“Lens and Brush: Works by American Illustrator Frank E. Schoonover”

April 1–May 16, 2021

Fur Brigade photo and illustration by Frank Schoonover, Mitchell Gallery
Top: Photo by Frank E. Schoonover
Bottom: Frank E. Schoonover, Fur Brigade, 1912. Oil on canvas.

Frank E. Schoonover (1877–1972) is known for his works found in Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s, Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, American Boy, and other publications. Schoonover—along with N.C. Wyeth, Jesse Willcox Smith, and others—was a prized student of Howard Pyle, the founder of the Brandywine School of American Illustration. Through Pyle’s encouragement, Schoonover traveled by snowshoe and dog sled across parts of Canada and North America, taking photographs of his environments that were later used as image references. This exhibition, which includes more than 40 works, provides a glimpse into Schoonover’s resources, technical skill, and creativity used for his highly acclaimed illustrations.

Curated by John Schoonover, president and curator, Schoonover Studios. Organized by Lucinda Dukes Edinberg.


We thank the following for their continuous funding and support: Anne Arundel County, Chesapeake Medical Imaging, the City of Annapolis, the Helena Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Estate of Elizabeth Myers Mitchell, the Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors, Members of the Mitchell Gallery, Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, the John and Hilda Moore Fund, the Lillian Vanous Nutt Mitchell Gallery Endowment, Rex and Katharine Pingle, and the Clare Eddy and Eugene V. Thaw Fine Arts Fund.

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Programs and Events

April 1:Opening of online exhibition

April 1–May 16: Online Lecture
“Compatible Companions: Tools of the Illustrator,” a prerecorded lecture by Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg. Premieres April 1, available through May 16.

April 11: Live interview with John Schoonover, president and curator, Schoonover Studios, 3 p.m. ET
This interview, followed by a Q&A period, will provide biographical insights and background on Frank E. Schoonover’s travels, training, and inspirations—which led to his reputation as a prominent illustrator. Free. No registration required.

John Schoonover

John Schoonover graduated from the University of Virginia and established Schoonover Studios Ltd. in 1969. The Schoonover Studios specialize in the works of Frank E. Schoonover, but works by other American illustrators, as well as art conservation, are also a vital part of the studio’s operations. Along with Louise Schoonover Smith and Lee Ann Dean, John is the co-author of the 2-volume Frank E. Schoonover Catalogue Raisonné. He is currently on the Board of Trustees at the Biggs Museum of American Art, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Delaware Humanities Forum, was a founding member of the Brandywine Arts Festival, and remains an active member of the Wilmington Rowing Club. John is currently working on a book celebrating the documentary photographs of Frank E. Schoonover, which is expected to be released in 2022.

April 29: Virtual Tour, 2:30 p.m. ET | Book Club, 3 p.m. ET
Online tour of the exhibition followed by discussion of Howard Pyle by Henry Pitz, led by illustrator Rob Wood. Contact the gallery for book purchase. Free. Registration required to participate in Book Club.

Rob Wood
Rob Wood

Illustrator Rob Wood received his BFA from East Tennessee State University with a major in painting and graphic design. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served a year in Vietnam. After receiving an honorable discharge, Wood attended the University of Georgia, where he earned his MFA and began his illustration career at a design firm in the Washington, DC area.

Wood’s artwork is found in books and magazines, and he has created illustrations for book covers for Stephen King, Nevada Barr, Jack Higgins, Kristin Hannah, and a new edition of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, released in 2021. He has also created an ornament for the White House Christmas tree, as well as murals for the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, The World War II Museum in New Orleans, and the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.

He is a member of the Society of Illustrators and has received multiple awards and recognition, including best in show and gold medals from Communication Arts Magazine, the Art Directors Club of New York, the American Illustration Annual, the Art Directors Club of Washington, DC, National Geographic, and other publications and organizations.

In addition to his illustration work, Wood has served as a guest lecturer and judge at the World Infographics Conference in Pamplona, Spain. Wood has taught at Towson University as a graduate advisor and for the former Continuing Education Program at St. John’s College.

Wood is a partner with Wood Ronsaville Harlin, Inc. an internationally recognized firm with clients worldwide.

May 5: Art Express, 12:15–12:45 p.m. ET
Lunchtime tour with Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg. Free. No registration required.

May 16: Closing of Frank E. Schoonover exhibition