Pitz, Henry C. (Henry Clarence), 1895-1976

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Henry Clarence Pitz was born June 16, 1895 in Philadelphia, PA. He married Molly Wheeler Wood June 10, 1935. From 1914-1918, he studied at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art and Spring Garden Institue. Mr. Pitz pursued a career of artist, illustrator, art editor, lecturer, and instructor. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Mr. Pitz received many awards for his work. He illustrated over 160 books. His artwork is represented in the permanent collections of many museums. He died November 26, 1976. Biographical Source: Something About the Author, vol. 4 and 24, p. 167-171

From the guide to the Henry Clarence Pitz Collection, 1927-1962, (University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections [clrc])

Henry C. Pitz began working as an artist and illustrator in 1920. He was also the director of the Dept. of Illustration and Decoration at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, an associate editor on the staff of "American Artist", a visiting faculty member at several schools. His work may be found in permanent collections including the Library of Congress, the Philadelphia and Cleveland museums of art, the Los Angeles Museum. In addition to his books on drawing and techniques, Pitz wrote more than 100 articles for the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Horn Book, American Heritage, American Artist and other periodicals. Pitz won more than 40 awards, including bronze medals at the International Print Exhibition (1932) and the Paris International Exhibition, the Obrig Prize (1953, 1956), Philadelphia Athenaeum Literary Award (1969), Pennational Artists Gold Medal (1968), and many others.

From the description of Henry Clarence Pitz papers, 1927-1962. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 63292388

Henry Clarence Pitz was born on June 16, 1895 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pitz is known foremost as the award-winning illustrator of over one hundred sixty books and dozens of magazine covers and articles. Pitz was also a prolific chronicler and historian of the field and practice of illustration, authoring historical texts such as 200 years of American illustration and The Brandywine tradition. He also taught and lectured in painting and illustration for decades. Pitz considered becoming a history teacher, but following graduation in 1914, a scholarship to the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art urged him to focus on his art. Pitz never abandoned his early interest in history and became an expert in producing well-researched and accurate illustrations for books on historical subjects. After a year spent in France with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I, Pitz began approaching New York editors. He met with some success, placing illustrations in Boy's life and St. Nicolas magazines. In 1922 Pitz illustrated his first book, Master Skylark. From this point forward Pitz's growing reputation as an illustrator of lush watercolors and oils and crisp, bold ink drawings and lithographs kept him busy. In 1934 Pitz was hired as the head of the Department of Pictorial Expression at the Pennsylvania Museum College of Art and remained in this position for twenty-eight years. In 1935 Pitz married Molly Wheeler Wood, also a painter. They had a son and a daughter. In the 1940s Pitz began publishing illustrated guidebooks for artists and illustrators. Pitz's illustrations earned him many awards and he was elected to several artists' and illustrators' societies. Pitz died on November 26, 1976 in Philadelphia.

From the description of Henry C. Pitz papers, 1919-1973. (University of Oregon Libraries). WorldCat record id: 53148299

American children's author/illustrator, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1895. Also an art educator, he illustrated over one hundred and sixty books during his lifetime and wrote several books on illustration technique.

From the description of Papers, 1927-1963. (University of Southern Mississippi, Regional Campus). WorldCat record id: 26892462

Henry Clarence Pitz’s career followed several distinct but closely related trajectories. Pitz is known foremost as the award-winning illustrator of over one hundred sixty books and dozens of magazine covers and articles. Additionally, Pitz was a prolific chronicler and historian of the field and practice of illustration, authoring historical texts such as 200 Years of American Illustration and The Brandywine Tradition as well as The Practice of Illustration and other guides for hopeful illustrators. However, Pitz’s prodigious achievements as an author and illustrator did not prevent him from maintaining continuous presence in the classroom. Pitz taught and lectured in painting and illustration for decades, and took as much pleasure in his students’ artistic achievements as in his own.

Pitz summarizes his busy career with the modesty, mild humor, and colorful yet economic prose so familiar to his friends and readers: “For a good many years I have spent part of my time teaching illustration at my old school, the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. I am proud that a great many of the younger book illustrators have been in my classes. In my spare time I have enjoyed writing articles and books about illustration and picture-making in general. In between there has been a little time for painting in water color and oil and for etching and lithography.”

Born on June 16, 1895, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he would maintain residence throughout his life, Pitz became interested early on in history and illustration. According to Pitz, his father assembled an eclectic collection of books for his children’s benefit. These books – especially those “crammed with pictures,” Pitz recalled – became mainstays of Pitz’s childhood. Likewise, with several painters in the Pitz family’s acquaintance, Pitz was immediately comfortable with the practice of painting and drawing, which became as much a form of play to the young Pitz as any other childhood diversion. Pitz’s interest in history, which would greatly influence his later work, was quite strong for the adolescent Pitz. Noticing his unusual talent and intellectual curiosity, Pitz’s art and history teachers at West Philadelphia High School both attempted to recruit him to their respective professions; Pitz did consider studying to become a history teacher, but, following his graduation from high school in 1914, a scholarship to the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art urged him to focus on his art. Pitz would never abandon this early interest in history, however, and would become an expert in producing well-researched and accurate illustrations for books on historical subjects. A quick glance at the list of books illustrated by Pitz – with titles such as Mayflower Heroes, Patriot Lad of Old Salem, Voyages of Columbus, Beowulf, The Vikings, That Lively Man Ben Franklin, and With LaSalle the Explorer – suggests the scope of Pitz’s historical interests.

When Pitz spent a year in France with the American Expeditionary Forces as an X-Ray technician during World War I following his 1917 enlistment, he brought along his sense of the war’s historical significance, which naturally found expression in his art. Pitz spent a considerable amount of his free time sketching allied soldiers – one of whom he recalled having paid “seven cigarettes and a pack of Bull Durham” to pose – and the war-torn landscapes and cityscapes of Europe. One of these sketches was published in a 1919 Philadelphia newspaper story on G.I. art from the war.

Although he had already received small commission for some of his illustrations, Pitz’s career as an illustrator began in earnest when, in his words, he “tucked [his] portfolio under [his] arm and made the rounds of the New York editors” upon his return from the war. Pitz met with some success with the magazine editors, placing illustrations in Boy’s Life and St. Nicholas magazines. Soon thereafter, in 1922, Pitz was asked to illustrate his first book, Master Skylark . From this point forward, Pitz’s growing reputation as an illustrator of meticulous yet often lush watercolors and oils and crisp, bold ink drawings and lithographs kept him quite busy. In 1929, following several years of continued magazine and children’s book illustration, Pitz was invited to co-author and illustrate Early American Costume, a book on whose subject matter Pitz was an acknowledged expert. Pitz was hired on as the head of the Department of Pictorial Expression at the Pennsylvania Museum College of Art in 1934; ironically, in assuming this position Pitz replaced a didactic art instructor who had sent Pitz away from art school in 1917. Pitz remained as the head of the department for twenty-eight years, after which he became professor emeritus. In 1935 Pitz married Molly Wheeler Wood, herself a painter, with whom he would have one son and one daughter.

Roughly a decade after his appointment as department head, Pitz began publishing carefully illustrated guidebooks for artists and illustrators. The year 1947 saw the publication of A Treasury of American Book Illustration and The Practice of Illustration . Pen, Brush and Ink, edited by Arthur Guptill, appeared two years later in 1949, followed by Watercolor Methods, with Norman Kent (1955); Drawing Trees (1956); Ink Drawing Techniques (1957); Sketching with the Felt-tip Pen: A New Artist’s Tool (1959); Illustrating Children’s Books: History, Technique, Production (1963); and in 1965 Drawing Outdoors, with Susan E. Meyer, and The Figure in Painting and Illustration . With the exception of Charcoal Drawing, which appeared in 1971, the remainder of Pitz’s books was more historical than technical, though his focus remained on illustration. Perhaps the most widely recognized of these books is The Brandywine Tradition (1968), which grew out of Pitz’s 1965 exhibition catalogue entitled N. C. Wyeth and the Brandywine Tradition . Remaining on the bestseller’s list for ten weeks, The Brandywine Tradition documents the history, art, and artists of eastern Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley. Pitz devotes the bulk of the book to the life and works of his lifelong influence Howard Pyle and to Pyle’s students, including N.C. and Andrew Wyeth. Pitz presented a second book on Pyle with the 1975 publication of Howard Pyle: Writer, Illustrator, Founder of the Brandywine School, but not before contributing to the design and editing of The Gibson Girl and Her America (1969) and Fredric Remington (1972). Pitz’s final book, 200 Years of American Illustration appeared in 1977.

The vast understatement contained in Pitz’s autobiographical career summary which appears above becomes evident when we recall that while writing and compiling the aforementioned books he continued to teach and to improve his own art. Not surprisingly, Pitz’s work did not go unnoticed by the art community: Pitz’s illustrations earned him dozens of awards throughout the years, and he was elected to several artists’ and illustrators’ societies. Pitz died on November 26, 1976, in Philadelphia.

From the guide to the Henry C. Pitz papers, 1919-1973, (Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Thornton Oakley collection of Howard Pyle and his students, Bulk, 1887-1951, 1841-1992 Free Library of Philadelphia: Rare Book Department
creatorOf Pitz, Henry Clarence, 1895-1976. Caricatures of Paul Bunyan [graphic]. California Digital Library
referencedIn Rosamond B. Loring collection of printed endpapers, 1900-1950 (inclusive), 1920-1941 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Henry Clarence Pitz Collection, 1927-1962 University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections [clrc]
creatorOf Pitz, Henry Clarence, 1895-1976. Henry C. Pitz papers, 1919-1973. University of Oregon Libraries
referencedIn David Fraser Collection Relating to Henry C. Pitz, 1951-1953 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Norman Kent Papers, 1920-1971 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Hoffman, Daniel, 1923-. Paul Bunyan collection, 1914-1970. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Pitz, Henry Clarence, 1895-1976. Papers, 1927-1963. University of Southern Mississippi, Regional Campus, Joseph Anderson Cook Library
creatorOf Pitz, Henry Clarence, 1895-1976. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1958-1971. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Kent, Norman, 1903-1972. Norman Kent papers, 1939-1964. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Oakley, Thornton, 1881-1953. Thornton Oakley collection of Howard Pyle and his students, 1841-1992 1887-1951. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library
creatorOf Chappell, Warren. Papers of Warren Chappell. 1897-1985. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Pitz, Henry C., 1895-1976 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Pitz, Henry Clarence, 1895-1976. Henry Clarence Pitz papers, 1927-1962. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Pitz, Henry Clarence, 1895-1976. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Stokes, Katherine Martin, 1906-. Katherine M. Stokes letters received, 1933. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Daniel Carter Beard Papers, 1798-1941, (bulk 1931-1935) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf American Artists Group. American Artists Group records, 1934-1965. Archives of American Art
creatorOf PITZ, HENRY C. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Henry C. Pitz papers, 1919-1973 University of Oregon Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Merritt Parmelee, 1892-1954. person
associatedWith American Artists Group. corporateBody
associatedWith Aspden, Don. person
correspondedWith Beard, Daniel Carter, 1850-1941 person
associatedWith Brady, Charles A. (Charles Andrew), 1912- person
associatedWith Chappell, Warren, 1904-1991. person
associatedWith Cooke, Donald Ewin, 1916- person
associatedWith Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851. person
associatedWith Cooper, Page, 1891-1958. person
associatedWith Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. person
associatedWith Drake, Francis S. (Francis Samuel), 1828-1885. person
associatedWith Fenner, Phyllis R. (Phyllis Reid), 1899- person
associatedWith Fraser, David A. person
associatedWith Frith, Henry, 1840- person
associatedWith Froissart, Jean, 1338?-1410? person
associatedWith Hoffman, Daniel, 1923- person
associatedWith Hudson, W. H. (William Henry), 1841-1922. person
associatedWith Irving, Washington, 1783-1859. person
associatedWith Kent, Norman, 1903-1972. person
associatedWith Loring, Rosamund B. (Rosamond Bowditch), 1889-1950 person
associatedWith Markham, Virgil, 1899- person
associatedWith Mayer, Albert I. person
associatedWith Oakley, Thornton, 1881-1953. person
associatedWith Riggs, Strafford. person
associatedWith Sechrist, Elizabeth Hough, 1903- person
associatedWith Simon, Charlie May Hogue, 1897- person
associatedWith Skrebit︠s︡kiĭ, G. (Georgiĭ), 1903- person
associatedWith Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894. person
associatedWith Stokes, Katherine Martin, 1906- person
associatedWith Walsh, Mary Regina, 1889- person
associatedWith Watkins, Hope Brister person
associatedWith Watkins, Hope Brister. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Arts and Humanities
Artists--United States
Magazine illustration--United States--20th century
Children's literature, American--20th century
Illustration of books--United States--20th century
Magazine illustration--20th century
Children's literature--Illustrations
Illustrators
Illustrators--United States
Illustration of books--20th century
Literature
Artists
Occupation
Artists
Function

Person

Birth 1895-06-16

Death 1976-11-26

Americans

English

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