The Frederick Knecht Detwiller collection consists of paintings, prints, watercolors, ephemera, and archives.
A native of Easton, Pennsylvania, Frederick Knecht Detwiller (1882-1953) was a member of the Lafayette College class of 1904. After graduation, he explored law and then architecture as career options. In 1910 he traveled to Europe, studying architecture and art at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Academie Colarossi and exhibited in Paris in the 1914 Salon des Indépendants. Returning to the United States the young artist established his principal studio in New York (first at the Holbein Studios and later at Carnegie Hall) and a summer studio at New Harbor, Maine. He also lived in Henry Ward Ranger’s former home at the Noank, Connecticut colony for four years, and spent several winters in Charleston, exhibiting with the South Carolina Art Association.
In the final years of his life (1948–53), he was artist-in-residence at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, and his studio contents came to Lafayette after his death. His extant oeuvre consists of oil paintings, watercolors, and prints focusing on scenes from daily life in city and country, landscapes and portraits of historical and contemporary buildings; some implementing aspects of cubism and futurism. Pennsylvania scenes include images of collieries in the Lehigh Valley and views along the Delaware River. Although he denied any direct influence, the impact of the Ashcan School and the early modernists is evident. Detwiller was a vocal, active member of both traditional and modernist art organizations, notably the Lotos Club, Salmagundi Club (president 1944–46), American Watercolor Society, National Academy of Design (ANA), Salons of America (founding director), Allied Artists of America (president 1943–45), and Society of Independent Artists.He had a wide network of friends and acquaintances in the American art scene, including George Luks, John Sloan,
Alfred Hutty, Louis Eilshemius, Pop Hart, Daniel Chester French, and Katherine Dreier, and these friendships are recorded in unpublished correspondence held Lafayette’s Skillman Library.