The Complete Works of Philippe Smit
by Andreas Narzt and Florence Castellani
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Catalogue entry

Photo: Christopher Burke Studios, NY; © FdDPS
Photo: Christopher Burke Studio, NY; FdDPS
Original frame designed and painted by the artist.

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Classification: Painting »
Theme: figurative »
Medium: Oil »
Support: on canvas »
Year(s): 1924 »
PS 246 (P 177; LNC 108)
L'évêque (The Bishop)
Alternate titles: Bishop W. F. Pendleton; Een bisschop; L'archevêque W. F. Pendleton; L'évêque W. F. Pendleton
1924
Oil on canvas
51 3/16 x 44 7/8 in. (130 x 114 cm)
Signed and dated lower right: Philippe Smit/ 1924 and titled on the back on the stretcher upper left: L'évêque
On the back: exposition label Philadelphia on the frame upper center.
Inventories
Inv. T. P., Ptgs etc. at Bryn Athyn, n.d. [c. 1940], Glencairn archives: no. [11] [P 177], p. [1], Bishop W.F. Pendleton, Smit, 47 x 53 [in.].
Inv. Pitcairn, n.d. [c.1957], n.p., LNC archives: no. P 177, Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, Portrait of Bishop W.F. Pendleton , Smit, Oil, 50 1/2 x 44 1/2 [in.].
Inv. LNC, 1984, updated Oct. 1998, LNC archives: no. P 177, p. 1, The Church - Church, Portrait of Bishop W.F. Pendleton, Oil, 50 1/2 x 44 1/2 [in.].
Exhibitions
The Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, Philippe Smit, An Exhibition of Works by a Twentieth Century Dutch Master, December 01–29, 1957, no. 14, ill. color, as Bishop W. F. Pendleton, Oil - Circa 1925, 63 x 58 [in.].
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, Collection of the Rev. and Mrs. Theodore Pitcairn, June 17–September 15, 1960, no. 19, Oil, 50 1/2 x 44 1/2 [in.], 1924, Bishop W. F. Pendleton, 11-1960-19 (title and n° on the exhibition label).
Literature & Primary Sources
Hyatt, Winfred. "The Art of Philippe Smit." In The Bulletin, vol. XIII, n° 2. Bryn Athyn, PA: Sons of the Academy, November 1924, p. 33–34 & 42–43, p. 33 & 42.
Philippe Smit. APCS to René and Mathilde Massé. New York, n.d. [20 June 1924].
Niehaus, Kasper. "Nieuwe Werken van Philippe Smit." De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), 14-12-1924, p. 9 (" … twee portretten van kerkelijke hoogwaardigheidsbekleeders …").
Niehaus, Kasper. Philippe Smit, unkown genius. Revised and edited by Marjorie Bell. Typescript, 1955, p. 27, as L'archevêque W. F. Pendleton.
"Smit Exhibit Opens at Fine Arts Museum Tomorrow." The Springfield Daily News, 30-11-1957, ill. p. ?
Janssen, Guus. "Philippe Smit – Nederlandse kunstschilder die geïnspireerd werd door Swedenborg." Swedenborgiana (La Haye) Editie 91 (09/2015), p. 13, ill. 5, as Een bisschop.
Notes
"Dien Maryke et Loty et moi nous/ avons été 3 mois en Amerique./ Je devais peindre 2 portraits d’Evêques/ tu c’est [sais] de cette Americain qui collectionnes/ mes tableaux. […]" [sic] (Dien, Maryke, Loty and I spent 3 months in America. I had to paint 2 portraits of bishops. You know, for this American who collects my paintings ...) (Philippe Smit 1924)

In 1921 Thedore Pitcairn travelled to Europe looking for paintings for the cathedral in Bryn Athyn, the meeting place for members of the New Church. It was the significant financial contribution from the Pitcairn family that made the building of the cathedral possible (fig. 1). The Pitcairn brothers, Raymond and Theodore, both wanted to find artists who could do portraits of the clergy and produce designs for the tapestries.
It was during this trip, which took him to Holland, that Theodore Pitcairn met Philippe Smit through the intermediary Ernst Pfeiffer. Captivated by his work, he made his first acquisition of two pastels, [PS 229] and [PS 227]. "I feel certain he is the greatest living artiste quite a young man. I wish he could come to B. A. [Bryn Athyn] and paint the Elder Bishop. I met him and liked/ him very much." This is how Theodore described his first impressions of the painter to his brother.1 He was convinced that Smit was able to express their ideals through his art. "The Spiritual world is very real to him" and "I believe their [sic] is any one who could do as much for the decorative end of the church with as earnest a religious spirit as he."2 Raymond Pitcairn, trusting his brother’s judgment, is receptive to the idea that Philippe Smit should come and do the portraits but had reservations about his ability to carry out the tapestry projects and preferred to enlist the artist Winfred Hyatt.3
The portrait of William Frederic Pendleton (1845-1927), first bishop of the "General Church of the New Jerusalem" (New Church), and that of his brother [PS 244] are not well received and in particular it is Winfried Hyatt who totally denounces them.4 The Belgian painter Jean Jacques Gaillard, also a member of the Swedenborgian church, is similarly critical of the portraits which he knows from photographs.5


1. Theodore Pitcairn, ALS to his brother, Raymond, 6 August [1921] (Glencairn archives).
2. Theodore Pitcairn, TLS to his brother, Raymond, 27 February [1922] (Glencairn archives).
3. See Raymond Pitcairn, TLS to his brother, Theodore, 4 April 1922 (Glenairn archives).
4. See Hyatt 1924.
5. See Gyllenhaal 2000, p. 20.

 

Additional images
Photograph of the opening of the Springfield exhibition, 1 December 1957 (private archives, Paris).
FIG. 1
The Pitcairn Bros. [Raymond and Theodore] and Winfred Hyatt in the South Porch 02, 16th June 191(?), (CATH_0336), "Bryn Athyn Historic District Archives", 25th October 2016 [date of download], http://glencairnmuseum.omeka.net/items/show/462 [image cropped].
Record last updated March 27, 2020. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Citation: Narzt, Andreas and Castellani, Florence. "L'évêque (The Bishop), 1924 (PS 246)." The Complete Works of Philippe Smit. http://www.philippesmit.com/cr/catalogue/entry.php?id=246 (accessed on September 26, 2021).