Winterthur Museum acquires one of the earliest known American depictions of the Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny Fraktur, attributed to Johann Conrad Gilbert (1734–1812).
Easter Bunny Fraktur, attributed to Johann Conrad Gilbert (1734–1812).
(Winterthur)

Delaware's Winterthur Museum recently acquired one of the earliest known American depictions of the Easter Bunny, which was sold at Pook & Pook auction house in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

Together with the Christmas tree, the custom of the Easter rabbit and colored eggs was brought to America by immigrants from southwestern Germany in the 1700s, and has become a favorite American tradition.

This delightful image is attributed to schoolmaster Johann Conrad Gilbert (1734–1812), who emigrated from Germany in 1757 and ultimately settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He likely made the drawing as a gift for one of his students. A similar drawing, also attributed to Gilbert, is in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg.

These drawings are examples of a Pennsylvania German tradition of decorated manuscripts known as fraktur, which include birth and baptismal certificates, family records, writing samples, and bookplates.

Lisa Minardi, a fraktur expert and assistant curator of the museum’s current exhibition, Paint, Pattern & People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725–1850, notes, “The Easter rabbit drawing is one of the rarest of all fraktur, with only two examples known, and is a major addition to Winterthur’s collection.”

“This important acquisition allows Winterthur to document the Germanic beginnings of a beloved American tradition,” adds J. Thomas Savage, Winterthur’s director of museum affairs.

The drawing will be on view in the museum Galleries starting Friday, April 22. It will remain on display through the Easter holiday and Mother’s Day, when it will be taken down and treated by the museum’s conservation staff to remove dirt and grime from the paper. Ultimately, it will be placed on long-term view in the museum’s renowned Fraktur Room, where it will join about two dozen other examples of Pennsylvania German fraktur art.

More News Feed Headlines

Detail of Salvator Mundi by da Vinci.

Russian Art Collector Dmitry Rybolovlev Detained in Monaco

  • November 08, 2018 13:39

Update 11/9/18: Unspecified charges have been filed, via Bloomberg. Dmitry Rybolovlev, the ...

Read More

Romare Bearden, Cotton, 1964.  Gelatin silver print (photostat) on fiberboard (Ed.  1/6), 39 x 49 in.  (99.1 x 124.5 cm).  Colby College Museum of Art.  The Lunder Collection, 2017.003.  © 2018 Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Arts Initiative Across Maine Brings Forward Artists' Perspectives on Migration

  • November 01, 2018 19:09

“…and when she went out it seemed to her that she too had migrated, that everyone migrates, even ...

Read More

Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur—For Freedoms

Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms Are Remade by Artists to Reflect America Today

  • October 28, 2018 22:43

Some 75 years after Norman Rockwell created his iconic Four Freedoms images in response to ...

Read More

Portrait of Edmond Belamy, 2018, created by GAN (Generative Adversarial Network), sold by Christie’s for $432,500.  Image © Obvious

AI Artwork Smashes Estimate to Fetch $432,500 at Auction

  • October 25, 2018 16:09

AI artwork sells for $432,500 — nearly 45 times its high estimate — as Christie’s becomes the ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

 

ArtfixDaily Artwire