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Arthur Edwin Bye belonged to a Quaker family with deep roots in Bucks County. Like his son, painter Ranulph Bye, Dr. Bye painted Bucks County scenery, using luminous, expressionistic color to depict barns and fields. Dr. Bye was a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a professor of Art at Lafayette College, Vassar College, and the University of North Carolina. He founded his own art center for the restoration of paintings on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia and was an art dealer for most of his life. Dr. Bye authored five books on art history and two on Bye family history (adding his own illustrations) as well as many articles. His 1921 book, Pots and Pans: Studies in Still Life Painting, was critically acclaimed as one of the first comprehensive treatments of a neglected topic in art history. His book, Bucks County Tales, is a collection of true stories and character sketches about the Native Americans, early settlers, and fugitive slaves who peopled local history. A Bucks County resident for 39 years, Dr. Bye was active in the Society of Friends and Bucks County and Pennsylvania Historical Societies.
Dr. Arthur Edwin Bye, pastel drawing by Ranulph Bye. Gift of Ranulph Bye. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
George School, Newtown, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania, BA, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
School of Industrial Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Oxford University, England, 1910-1911
Woodbrook School, England
Princeton University, PhD, Princeton, New Jersey, 1912-1916
Connection to Bucks County
Dr. Bye lived in Bucks County for thirty-nine years, from 1932 to 1969. His estate, Bycroft Farm, was situated on the Bye Homestead in Holicong, a plot of land originally granted by William Penn in 1699. He transformed a carriage house on the property into a studio.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Dr. Bye was the father of painter Ranulph Bye. His career as a curator, art historian, and art dealer acquainted him with many past and contemporary Bucks County artists.
Aurthur E. Bye (1885-1969), Bye of Basinstoke Family Insignia. Gift of Ranulph Bye. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Major Group Exhibitions
Artists of the New Hope School, The Collector's Room Gallery, Carversville, Pennsylvania, 1975
Fiftieth Anniversary Retrospective Art Exhibition, Phillips' Mill, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1979
Dr. Bye's publications include:
Pots and Pans: Studies in Still Life Painting, 1921
The Story of Art in Pennsylvania, School Art Magazine, vol. 24, 1924-1925
Restoring Old Pictures, Bucks County Historical Society Journal, vol. 6, 1932
Jury Problem, Art Digest, March, 1934
Edward Hicks, Painter-Preacher, Antiques, January, 1936
Some Early Painters of Bucks County, The Towpath, March, 1941
Edward Hicks, Art in America, February, 1951
A History of the Bye Family and Some Allied Families, 1956
The Hermit, Bucks County Life, March, 1963
The Widow Buckman, The Historian, Bucks County Historical Society, Autumn, 1965
What You See: Landscape Luminosity, Landscape Architecture, April, 1966
Episodes in Cairo, Panorama-The Magazine of Bucks County, March, 1970
Bucks County Tales, Correll Press, Furlong, Pennsylvania, (date unknown)
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Curator of Paintings, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1920-1927
Professor of Art, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania
Professor of Art, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York
Professor of Art, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, New Jersey
Professor of Art, School of Industrial Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Professor of Art, University of North Carolina, North Carolina
Owner of Art Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Restorer and Conservator of Paintings
Affiliations and Memberships
Bucks County Historical Society
Pennsylvania Historical Society
The Society of Friends, Buckingham, Pennsylvania
Magna Charta, the Baronnial Society, Runnemeade, New Jersey