The Delaware Art Museum and Somerville Manning Gallery Present Holly Trostle Brigham

by Gail Obenreder

In an unusual confluence, accomplished Philadelphia artist Holly Trostle Brigham (b. 1965) has two concurrent exhibitions in Wilmington. They’re just five minutes’ drive from one another (less than two miles apart) at the Delaware Art Museum on Kentmere Parkway and Somerville Manning Gallery on the banks of the Brandywine in historic Brecks Mill.

The museum has mounted this recently opened exhibition in conversation with its renowned collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art. Through her practice, Brigham is committed to recovering the life work of accomplished women whose oeuvre and names have faded or disappeared. Here, this PAFA-trained figurative artist brings her considerable force and focus to consider the life work of Elizabeth Siddal (1829-1862).

Siddal is remembered (if at all) as muse and model for Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and others of the male-dominated Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. But she was herself an artist and poet whose body of visual and written work is coming to the fore via new scholarship, including the fact that Siddal’s artistic ambitions pre-dated her association with the Pre-Raphaelites. Working as co-curator with the museum’s Margaretta Frederick, Brigham has visually investigated, interpreted, and illuminated Siddal’s body of work, creating a contemporary window on the Victorian artist’s short but productive life…

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