Two Artists Focus on Pumpkin Pie

By Daniel Fulco, Ph.D., Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator

In celebration of Thanksgiving, we hope that you enjoy this painting in our collection.

Sterling Strauser (American, 1907‒1995)
Pumpkin Pie, 1993
Oil on Masonite
8.25″h x 10.25″w   
Collection of Washington County Museum of Fine Arts          
Gift of the Estate of Alice Brumbaugh, 2022.5.3    
In this painting, Sterling Strauser represented a cherished Thanksgiving dessert. Using thick brushstrokes and adding bold, gestural textures, the artist sought to lend a sense of tactility and appeal to his subject, inviting us to imagine the pie’s delectability. Strauser might have derived thematic inspiration for his composition from Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud’s (American, 1920‒2021) numerous paintings of pie slices (see below).  
Strauser was born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and became a painter known for his Impressionist and Expressionist styles with a heavy, impasto technique. He began painting in 1926 and was at first influenced by the work of Paul Klee. Later, Strauser’s style softened into what one collector, Jim Sittig, termed “romantic American expressionism.” Strauser was also an illustrator for Mademoiselle magazine and Unicorn-A Magazine of Poetry. With his wife, Dorothy, he was a collector and promoter of folk art, and for many years was a teacher, office manager, and supervisor of the boiler works at the Pocono Mountain School District in Pennsylvania.

Wayne Thiebaud (American, 1920‒2021)
Pieces of Pumpkin, 1962
Oil on canvas
Formerly Christie’s, New York, 2008

This WeekendArt is sponsored by Kevin D. Murray, M.D.