Horace Pippin, a self-taught African American painter, was born February 22, 1888 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. At the age of three Pippin moved with his family to Goshen, New York, where he attended a segregated one-room school. When he was ten years old, he answered a magazine advertisement and received a box of crayons, paint, and two brushes in the mail. Later moving to Paterson, New Jersey and then enlisting in the army, Pippin spent a few years working and serving in the First World War. He was seriously wounded in the war and was left with a crippled right arm. He returned to West Chester, was married, and by 1931 produced a painting about the war which provided him with a therapeutic outlet for his experiences and became the catalyst for his career.
In the 1943 painting Domino Players, Pippin captured the mood of long quiet hours of childhood Sundays. The painting stands out for its emphasis of the family group, whose members loom larger and appear more united and intimate than in any other Pippin interior. The painting was first shown at The Pyramid Club in Philadelphia, where it won first prize. Shortly after acquiring the painting, Duncan Phillips wrote to Edith Halpert of the Downtown Gallery in New York: “The (purchase of the) Pippin Domino Players is certainly no mistake and in this case the wisdom of my immediate decision was confirmed on receipt of the picture.”
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