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Pickerel is recorded in the Frank Schoonover Catalogue Raisonné as reference number 793.

A passion for illustrating outdoor adventure stories, coupled with Howard Pyle’s advice that an artist should, “live what he paints,” prompted Schoonover to travel, first to the Canadian Hudson Bay area and Alaska in 1903, where he traversed 1200 miles by canoe, snowshoe and dogsled. He later went west to Colorado and Montana in 1906. Experiencing life on these pioneer frontiers enabled him to depict accurately the rugged lifestyles of the people he met along the way including Indians, Eskimos and cowboys. “The people I paint,” he said, “are rugged as their environment.” Schoonover utilized the notes and sketches recorded during these excursions as fodder for illustrated stories, the first completed in 1905.

Pickerel exemplifies the influence of the outdoors on Schoonover’s work, as well as his tendency to create action-filled scenes. In the present work, two fishermen admire their catch, which immediately draws the viewer’s eye with its central position and shining quality. Though the act of catching the fish is complete, the artist succeeds in creating understated action. For example, the fishing rod in the upper left corner bends with the weight of the fish, implying that the fish still hopelessly struggles against the fisherman’s strength. Also, the seated man reaches out, ready to snatch the fish, creating a moment of suspense and pending action. Characterized by the outdoors and adventure, Pickerel was the perfect illustrative complement for publications such as Top Notch Magazine, Sporting Classics, and The Ultimate Fishing Book.

PROVENANCE
The artist
The Gift Horse, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1967
Mr. James A. Collins, Wilmington, Delaware, 1967
The Chester Marron Collection, Christiana, Pennsylvania, 1972
Montrose Galleries, Bethesda, Maryland, 1979
American Illustrators Gallery, New York, 2002
Private collection, Delaware

EXHIBITED
Illustrations by Frank E. Schoonover, West Chester State College, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1972
Frank E. Schoonover 95th Birthday Celebration Exhibition, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware, 1972
Paintings, Drawings, and Prints by Frank E. Schoonover Illustrator and Artist, Shawnee Inn, Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania, 1978
Exhibition of Paintings & Drawings by Frank E. Schoonover, Montrose Galleries, Bethesda, Maryland, 1979
Frank Schoonover Exhibition, Community Gallery of Lancaster County, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1980
Frank Schoonover 1877-1972, Society of Illustrators, New York, New York, 2001

LITERATURE
Top Notch Magazine, December 1917, cover, illustrated
Popular Magazine, 1917, cover, illustrated
The Edge of the Wilderness: A Portrait of the Canadian North, Methuen Publications, 1975, p. 67, illustrated
Robert E. Jones, The Ultimate Fishing Book, Houghton Mifflin, 1981, p. 122, illustrated
Tom Davis, Sporting Classics, May / June 2001, cover, illustrated

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