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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 261

“Wouldn’t fit?” echoed Bok. “Why, it’s the very thing.”

Abbey and his wife were now like two happy children. Mrs. Abbey fetched the sketches which her husband had begun years ago, and when Bok saw them he was delighted. He realized at once that conditions and choice would conspire to produce Abbey’s greatest piece of mural work.

The arrangements were quickly settled; the Curtis architect had accompanied Bok to explain the architectural possibilities to Abbey, and when the artist bade good-by to the two at the railroad station, his last words were:

“Bok, you are going to get the best Abbey in the world.”

And Mrs. Abbey echoed the prophecy!

But Fate intervened. On the day after Abbey had stretched his great canvas in Sargent’s studio in London, expecting to begin his work the following week, he suddenly passed away, and what would, in all likelihood, have been Edwin Abbey’s mural masterpiece was lost to the world.

Assured of Mrs. Abbey’s willingness to have another artist take the theme of the Grove of Academe and carry it out as a mural decoration, Bok turned to Howard Pyle. He knew Pyle had made a study of Plato, and believed that, with his knowledge and love of the work of the Athenian philosopher, a good decoration would result. Pyle was then in Italy; Bok telephoned the painter’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, to get his address, only to be told that an hour earlier word had

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