Edward Hicks, His Life and Art

Alice Ford, Author Abbeville Press $75 (276p) ISBN 978-0-89659-570-5
Edward Hicks (17801849), itinerant Quaker preacher and painter of coaches, signs and his own pictures, viewed Paine and Spinoza as devils, considered slavery a moral but not a political issue, and abhorred the temperance movement. When not torturing himself with guilt for being an artist or for leaving his wife and children in order to preach, he produced some masterpiecesnotably The Peaceable Kingdom, whose 50 or so variants dramatize Isaiah's biblical prophecies. Ford, who wrote the first biography of Hicks in 1952, regrettably illuminates neither the man nor his art in this plodding recitation of his haphazard career, his money worries, the schism he triggered within the Friends movement, etc. Hicks's inspired fables may unite Scripture and patriotism, as Ford notes, but their childlike yet healing vision, their abiding power to move us, go beyond the author's simple explanations. Fifty color plates and 100 halftones show Hicks's folk renditions of William Penn, Noah's ark, David and Jonathan, along with his pastoral landscapes. January 8
Reviewed on: 11/01/1985
Release date: 11/01/1985
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