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Literature and music, legend and folklore: these were inspirational topics for Alden Wicks. His style often has a surreal quality with classically painted figures in allegorical settings such as The Metaphysicians, in which three philosophers argue while seated on the back of a large whale that is diving back into the sea. Many of his fantastical paintings involved water, boats, and whales; his early childhood experiences on the New England coast and his four year tour of duty as a lieutenant in the navy during World War II influenced his choice of using the sky and sea for a backdrop in his works. Alden Wicks had a long career as an art historian, lecturer, and teacher. After retiring as Assistant Dean of Faculty at Moore College of Art and Design, he returned to Massachusetts and continued to teach for the Westport Art Group. He was a member of the NASA Art program and Environmental Protection Agency. During his time as a resident of New Hope, he was active in local art groups.
Photograph by Jack Rosen, c. 1970s. Photo Courtesy of James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
Princeton University (B.A. degree in art and archaeology), Princeton, New Jersey, 1936
Tyler School of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,1947
Certificates from the Sorbonne and the University of Munich (summer study programs)
Teachers and Influences
At Tyler, his mentor was Alexander Abels.
Alden Wicks was strongly influenced by Michelangelo, Brueghel, Bosch, Rubeus, Goya, Degas, and Lautrec- a diverse group, but all with focus on the human figure.
Connection to Bucks County
Alden Wicks settled in New Hope after serving in the navy in the late 1940s during World War II.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Alden Wicks exhibited with local artists: Randaulph Bye, Cortland Butterfield, Joe Crilley, John Charry and Karl Karhumaa. Wicks was associated with Bye from their teaching at Moore College of Art and Design.
Major Solo Exhibitions
Scofield Gallery, Doylestown, Pennsylvania (no date)
Major Group Exhibitions
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1950
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
1942, 1951, 1952
Jefferson Medical School
Valley Forge Military Academy
Mural for the Citizen's Savings Bank in Fall Rivers, Massachusetts, depicting the town's history
Portrait of General Milton Baker, Valley Forge Academy, 1955
Project for NASA, 1961
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Instructor, Princeton University, 1937-1940
Instructor, Hunter College, New York, 1941-1942
Tyler School of Fine Art, 1951-1961
Head of Art department, Friends Central, Philadelphia, 1961
Assistant Dean of Faculty, Moore College of Art and Design,1961-1980
Westport Art Group, Westport Point, 1980-1987
Affiliations and Memberships
Alden Wicks was a patron of Phillips Mill Art Association and was involved with the Bucks County Playhouse.