Current & Upcoming Exhibitions

©Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), Roasted Chestnuts (1956), tempera on panel. Gift of Harry G. Haskell, 1971

©Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), Roasted Chestnuts Study, Full Figure (1956), pencil on paper. Private Collection

Andrew Wyeth: Lines of Thought

on view through February 8

Over his remarkable seven-decade career, Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) created thousands of drawings in pencil and watercolor, a body of work that he rarely exhibited. The drawings in this exhibition provide a fascinating glimpse into his creative process. They were created by Wyeth in preparation for four paintings—Faraway (1952), Corner of the Woods (1954), Roasted Chestnuts (1956), and Garret Room (1962). Each drawing is part of the process Wyeth used to work out his vision for his paintings. Many were sketched outdoors, and reveal Wyeth’s immediate response to figures or objects in a composition. The exhibition includes 23 sketches and three paintings.

Wyeth rendered his subjects in pencil drawings made with quick, gestural jabbing marks, contour lines, a range of shaded tones and dotted and scribbled lines. In the watercolor studies he wielded the brush freely to create flowing washes and dry, ragged swaths, and drew fine pen-like lines with the tip.

As these sketches show, Wyeth focused in with raw energy on aspects of the composition—isolating each element, whether a human figure or a tree—and distilling its essence. The drawings—made quickly in comparison to the time-intensive medium of tempera paintings in which he excelled—allowed him an important degree of spontaneity.  As the artist said, “My struggle is to preserve that abstract flash—like something you caught out of the corner of your eye... that momentary off-balance quality in the very base of the thing.” 

N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), “They fought with him on foot more than three hours, both before him and behind him," Illustration for The Boy's King Arthur, 1917, oil on canvas, 40 1/8 x 31 7/8 inches. Private collection

Enchanted Castles and Noble Knights

November 28, 2014 through January 4, 2015

Unforgettable, iconic paintings and drawings that illustrate the romance and daring stories of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and other tales of quests and chivalry will be on view this holiday season at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. These legends were immensely popular in the late 19th century, and artists of America’s Golden Age of Illustration (1880-1930) took up brush and pen to create art as dramatic as the stories. This exhibition will include a selection of Howard Pyle’s intricate, compelling pen drawings depicting Arthurian legends, and N.C. Wyeth’s gorgeously colored, romantic paintings for illustrated editions of The Boy’s King Arthur and The White Company, as well as work by Walter Crane, Elizabeth Shippen Green, Maxfield Parrish, Louis Rhead, Frank Schoonover and others will also be on view. Over 35 works of art are drawn from private collections and from the rich holdings of the Brandywine River Museum of Art. The exhibition will feature a model medieval castle owned by Andrew Wyeth. Made for him in 1927 by his brother Nathaniel and painted by their father N.C. Wyeth, the castle reminds us that such tales did indeed spark imaginations. The exhibition is supported by the Davenport Family Foundation Fund for Exhibitions.

©Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946) A Murder of Crows, 2003, oil on canvas. Phyllis and Jamie Wyeth Collection

©Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946), Voyeur, 2012, combined mediums. Collection of Phyllis and Jamie Wyeth

©Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946),Portrait of Shorty, 1963, oil on canvas. Collection of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth

Jamie Wyeth

January 17 through April 5, 2015

The Brandywine River Museum of Art will present the first major retrospective of the art of Jamie Wyeth (born 1946). Featuring 109 works, Jamie Wyeth examines six decades of the artist’s career and charts the evolution of his creative process from his earliest childhood drawings through recurring themes inspired by the people, places and objects that populate his world. The third generation in a renowned family of artists, Jamie Wyeth has blazed his own path. The exhibition incorporates paintings, works on paper, illustrations and two recent sculptural works.

Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, the exhibition offers a sense of the artist’s development over 60 years, from portraits made during his time in New York to landscapes of the worlds he inhabits in Chadds Ford and Maine. Wyeth’s family context is explored with works including his childhood drawings and earliest portraits—created in his father’s and grandfather’s studios, where he worked under the tutelage of his aunt Carolyn. Thematically arranged, Jamie Wyeth includes portraits of subjects such as John F. Kennedy, Wyeth’s wife, Phyllis, and Rudolf Nureyev, shown alongside a selection of preparatory drawings and studies that offer a window into the artist’s immersive approach to portraiture.

The exhibition will also feature landscapes of the worlds he inhabits in the Brandywine Valley and Maine—especially the islands of Tenants Harbor and Monhegan—still lifes of pumpkins (a fascination from his youth) and the many animals and birds that are part of his family and surroundings. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and accompanied by an extensively illustrated catalogue, the exhibition will travel to two additional venues.

At the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the exhibition is sponsored by Natalie and Herb Kohler on behalf of Kohler Co., and by David and Lisa Spartin.

The national tour is sponsored by Bank of America.

Horace Pippin (1888-1946), Interior (also known as Interior of Cabin), 1944, oil on fabric. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer P. Potamkin in honor of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, 1991

Horace Pippin: The Way I See It

April 25 through July 19, 2015

This major exhibition, the first in more than 20 years, re-examines Horace Pippin (1888-1946), an artist esteemed for his bold, colorful and candid paintings reflecting life in the African American community and commenting on race, religion, war and history. The exhibition will look closely at Pippin as an artist with a remarkable singular vision who stood outside the mainstream art world, upholding his own aesthetic sensibility while also engaging in the larger social issues of the day. This exhibition is made possible by The Exelon Foundation and PECO. For more information, please click here.

James Welling (b. 1951) Kuerner Hill with Clouds, 2012, inkjet print on rag paper.


James Welling(b. 1951) Dilworthtown Window, 2012, inkjet print on rag paper.

James Welling(b. 1951) Lestat, 2011, inkjet print on rag paper.

Things Beyond Resemblance:

James Welling Photographs

August 8 through November 15, 2015

In 2010, Los Angeles-based artist James Welling (b. 1951) initiated a series of color photographs inspired by the painter Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). As a conceptual artist who is deeply interested in the genesis of representation, Welling began the Wyeth series as an examination of Andrew Wyeth’s formative influence on Welling’s career, from his earliest watercolors in the 1960s through his recent photographs. “I realized I had never stopped thinking about Wyeth,” Welling wrote, “he had become a part of how I see.” Shot on location in Pennsylvania and Maine—in the same areas where Wyeth painted throughout his life—this major series will draw to a close in 2014, with new work created specifically for the exhibition.

In addition to debuting 50 works from the completed Wyeth series, the exhibition will explore the mechanisms of influence of one artist upon another—even across media—ranging from subconscious borrowings to more direct appropriations. Using color photography, Welling evokes Wyeth’s aesthetic, particularly the importance of place as the photographer treads in the painter’s footsteps at the Kuerner Farm and other iconic sites in Chadds Ford. Paying homage to Wyeth’s practice of altering reality in his seemingly realistic paintings, Welling digitally manipulates his photographs in subtle ways. This exhibition, organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art and guest curator Phillip Kaiser, will provide a fascinating look at the work of a leading contemporary artist and allow for fresh and insightful connections to Andrew Wyeth. Themes and images from the exhibition will be further explored in an accompanying catalogue. The planning of this exhibition has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) The Drowning, 1936, oil on canvas.

Rural Modernism

August 5 through November 6, 2016

The story of how modern art first arrived in the United States takes many forms. Variations include tales of American artists abroad, neatly packing modernist styles into their suitcases and returning home; the emigration of major European modernists such as Marcel Duchamp during World War I; and the onslaught of modernist styles on view at the Armory Show of 1913. Undoubtedly each of these narratives, and others, play a part in the formation of American modernist styles. One of the commonalities of the history of American modernism is the importance of American cities, particularly New York, for ushering in avant-garde styles. This, however, is only the beginning of the story. (read more)


Brandywine River Museum of Art, U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 141
Chadds Ford, PA 19317 • Phone: 610.388.2700

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