By joannearnold, Nov 12 2013 12:55AM
The Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA is a showcase of three generations from the Wyeth family who are all talented painters. It had been twenty-five years since I was there last & this time around, studio tours were available. There was a choice between being shuttled to Andrew’s studio or his father’s, NC Wyeth. It was an easy pick to go to Andrew’s because of the childhood familiar of “Christina’s World” to the much hyped 1980s “Helga” series.
At Andrew’s studio, a local docent took us through an hour’s worth of history about the Wyeth family. The studio that Andrew held for 20 years was the house he grew up in & started his own family in. It was also Jamie’s (Andrew’s son) childhood home and became studio space for him early in his career.
The house was charming but the colors were drab. I found the house colors reminiscent of the palette Andrew uses. Wyeth’s work gives me a feeling of light during late autumn or late winter when the growth of the earth is at a standstill or dried out. It was nice to hear of family stories and interesting to see that Andrew had an extensive collection of soldier figurines.
I visited the museum directly after the studio tour. It was nice to connect NC’s illustrations to the stories told on the tour. He was more than Andrew’s father he was a master of color, light and perspective. He did not over illustrate his commissions of Treasure Island or Last of the Mohicans. He depicted emotion without taking away from the visual imagery of reading. I can say I favored NC’s work over the rest of the Wyeth family.
The mastery of Andrew’s watercolors and temperas are proof of his genius. The stories on the tour about his models gave a unique perspective in the gallery.
Jamie’s exhibit depicted the rugged landscape of his life on Monhegan Island in Maine. The exhibition was juxtaposed with Rockwell Kent’s paintings of life on the island decades earlier. It was an unexpected treat to see Kent’s work. In another gallery of the museum, Jamie’s “Portrait of a Pig” stood out for its size alone.
The art of the Wyeth family is timeless. The Brandywine River Museum is worth that trip in time especially when visiting the studio first.