The children of acclaimed Delaware artist Howard Schroeder are donating 37 never-before-seen Schroeder drawings, sketches and paintings for an exhibit and sale to benefit construction of the new Lewes Public Library.
“We’re sharing our family collection to continue our father’s legacy of care for the community and to support the library project in his name,” said John Schroeder, son of the painter and chair of this special event.
The paintings will be on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Inn at Canal Square. They are available to view at www.greaterlewesfoundation.org/schroeder.
John Schroeder will give a presentation on the life and times of his influential father at 11 a.m. Other siblings involved in the family donation are Carole Short and Howard Allan, Rob and Stephen Schroeder, and brother-in-law Phil Fields.
In addition, two original Schroeder paintings have been given to the event by Discover Bank from its Wilmington headquarters building, now undergoing renovation.
Howard Schroeder (1910-1995) is widely acknowledged as the father of the arts in southern Delaware and, along with Jack Lewis, was one of the region’s most prolific and accomplished painters.
Before Schroeder and his wife Marian settled in Lewes to raise their six children, it was widely assumed that no one could make their living on Delmarva as an artist. Schroeder proved them wrong, raising a family of six children, establishing workshops across the region, teaching at St. Andrew's, managing an art supply store in Rehoboth Beach and helping guide the Rehoboth Art League through its early years.
A native New Yorker, Schroeder attended the College of Fine Arts at Syracuse University and the National Academy of Design in New York City before working as a commercial artist. He was drafted into the Army in 1942 and stationed at Fort Miles in Lewes, assigned to plant mines across the entrance to the Delaware Bay. While he was enlisted, the Army commissioned a number of Schroeder’s military-related paintings, one of which appeared in LIFE Magazine; another is on display at the Lewes Public Library.
As a full-time artist, Schroeder traveled across Delmarva to capture striking images of the region’s people, farms, buildings, natural vistas and waterfronts. During his 60-year career, Schroeder created numerous sketches and paintings in both oil and watercolor.
Although he painted around the world, it was his work in Lewes for which Howard Schroeder is best known, capturing the slow but inevitable development of the small fishing port into a popular vacation destination.
Since his death, Schroeder’s work has become highly collectible. This is the first time the Schroeder family has opened their personal collections for contribution to a charitable cause - one “my father would have agreed with wholeheartedly,” said John Schroeder.
The one-time Schroeder exhibit and sale is being sponsored by the Greater Lewes Foundation and the Inn at Canal Square. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale will support construction of the new Lewes Public Library.