Hoskins, Gayle Porter (1887-1962)

Gayle Porter Hoskins was born in Brazil, Indiana, on July 20, 1887, but moved with his family to Denver, Colorado, when he was five. He developed his intimate knowledge of horses, reflected later in his paintings, during his years in Colorado. At the age of fourteen, he became a cartoonist for the Denver Post. After his mother's death in 1904, the family moved to Chicago, and Hoskins enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute, where he studied under Charles Francis Browne, Frank Phoenix, Thomas Wood Stevens, and John Vanderpoel. In 1907 he became a mural designer for Marshall Field and Company. In  this same year his first illustrations were published in Red Book. Howard Pyle visited Hoskin's studio in Chicago in 1907 and invited the young illustrator to study with him in Wilmington. Hoskins moved to Wilmington and established a studio there. He studied with Pyle until Pyle's departure for Italy in 1910. Within a short time, Hoskins's illustrations were being published in major magazines in America. In addition to magazine illustrations, Hoskins illustrated magazine covers, book jackets, and calendar subjects. By 1918, Hoskins had become a prominent illustrator.

Hoskins taught throughout his life and maintained a genuine interest in the efforts of young artists. He was a founding member of the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts and frequently exhibited his works there. Hoskins was a co-founder, with  Frank Schoonover, of the Wilmington Sketch Club and, in 1928, a founding member of the Wilmington Academy of Art where he taught illustration, life drawing, costume sketch, composition, and antique classes. As magazine illustration began to wane in the late 1930's Hoskins began painting portraits and historical subjects.

Hoskins was a versatile and prolific illustrator. He was an excellent draftsman and vibrant colorist. His subject matter ranged from portrayals of dramatic, emotional  interludes to thrilling cowboy scenes and powerful historical depictions as well as formal portraits.
 Hoskins wrote in 1950:

I have always tried to be as truthful in the telling of a story and in the painting or delineation of the subject as my capabilities would allow to leave behind canvases that may eventually become of value in their subject matter and a document of the period in which I have lived in the United States of America.

Hoskins died January 14, 1962, at the age of seventy-four.

References: Cyclopedia; Illustrations by Gayle Porter Hoskins. Wilmington: Delaware Art Museum, 1973; Neville, Allen Russell. Gayle Porter Hoskins: Artist-Illustrator,  1887-1962. Unpublished bibliography, undated; Pitz, Brandywine Tradition; Sunday Star (Wilmington), Dec. 19, 1907; Delaware Art Museum, Gayle Hoskins Collection.