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For Immediate Release:

Andrew Wyeth's "Ides of March:" The Making of a Masterpiece Exhibition
on View at Brandywine River Museum Beginning March 16

Chadds Ford, PA February 27, 2013 -- The Brandywine River Museum will present the first in a series of exhibitions focusing on a major work of art. Andrew Wyeth's "Ides of March:" The Making of a Masterpiece presents this rarely-seen tempera painting from 1974 along with more than 30 studies that were instrumental in its development. Displayed together for the first time, these drawings and the tempera painting provide remarkable insight into Wyeth's creative approach and evocative imagery. The exhibition is on view from March 16 through May 19, 2013 and is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with an essay by Virginia O'Hara, curator of collections at the Brandywine River Museum and curator of the exhibition. Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) rarely discussed his work. With few exceptions, he similarly chose not to exhibit his studies. The drawings, to him, did not have any lasting value beyond their purpose as reference material.

The exhibition is part of a new five-year initiative by the Brandywine River Museum to reexamine the work of the extended Wyeth family of artists. The first milestone in this initiative was the opening of the Andrew Wyeth's Chadds Ford studio for public tours in 2012.

Wyeth's initial concept for Ides of March sprung from his fascination with the abstract, geometric forms of the large fireplace in his own home in Chadds Ford and the dramatic contrast of light and dark therein. As shown in the exhibition, the artist's initial drawing was a small monochromatic sketch in which he roughed-out a dark rectangle for the fireplace's shadowed recess. At the bottom of this framework-and developed further in subsequent drawings-is the simplified, white triangular shape of his dog, Nell. From this spare, notational beginning, the exhibition follows Wyeth as he explored various options for the composition in a series of pencil and watercolor drawings, changing the angle of view and the position of the natural light falling across the fireplace. Moving into watercolor, he then tested a rich earthy palette and established the elegiac tone and mood for the composition.

"These drawings are fascinating for what they tell us about an artist's thought process and working methods," said Virginia O'Hara. "And, they are highly engaging works to be enjoyed for their own merits. It has been particularly interesting to be able to bring new perspective to an artist as well known as Andrew Wyeth."

Visitors can immerse themselves in Andrew Wyeth's world on guided tours of his Chadds Ford studio. Wyeth painted in the studio from 1940 until mid-2008, and the studio is virtually intact, looking as it did when he last left it. The building also served as home for Wyeth and his family for more than 20 years. Tours of the nearby N.C. Wyeth House and Studio as well as the Kuerner Farm, which inspired nearly 1,000 works of art by Andrew Wyeth, are also available. These properties are owned by the Brandywine Conservancy, the parent organization of the Brandywine River Museum. Each may be toured separately, or on special packages that include a docent-led gallery tour of the Brandywine River Museum's renowned collection.

The Brandywine River Museum is located on U.S. Route 1 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The museum is open daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults; $8 for seniors; $6, for students and children ages 6 to 12; and free for members and children under six. Admission is free on Sunday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to noon, through November 24, except during the annual Antiques Show on Memorial Day weekend. Tickets for the Kuerner Farm and the N.C. Wyeth House and Studio tours cost an additional $8 each (free for members). For more information, including tour schedules, please call 610-388-2700 or visitwww.brandywinemuseum.org.

The Brandywine River Museum is a program of the Brandywine Conservancy. Founded in 1967, the Brandywine Conservancy preserves art and the environment, including the open space and countryside painted by many artists in the museum collection. It holds more than 440 conservation easements and has protected more than 45,000 acres in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Through its nationally recognized Environmental Management Center, the Conservancy provides services to landowners, farmers, municipalities and developers tailored to the character and function of the land, goals of the landowner, and interests of the community. In 2008, the Brandywine Conservancy was among the first land trusts in the country to be awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

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Jpegs available upon request. 



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