The Brandywine River Museum Outreach Program

Brandywine River Museum

Brandywine River Museum of Art

The Brandywine River Museum, frequently referred to as the Wyeth Museum due to its extensive collection of works by the Wyeth family, is housed in an old 19th century grist mill in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. In 2008, the museum announced its plans for the creation of a special community outreach program intended to help low-income students attending educational and community organizations in the greater Philadelphia region and in New Castle County, Delaware. The inaugural group, consisting of eighty fifth-grade students from Caln Elementary in Thorndale, Pennsylvania, visited the museum on January 30th, 2008 to view the exquisite art works on display, as well as a special exhibition by Jerry Pinkney. The museum is committed to the preservation and exhibition of American art. It showcases landscapes and still-life pieces by various artists from the Brandywine region.

The Founding Father

Within the walls of the Brandywine River Museum hangs a vast collection of works done by three generations of Wyeths: Newell Convers (N.C.), Andrew and Jamie. N.C. Wyeth settled in the Brandywine Valley in 1902. The museum houses approximately 40 of his works, including ‘The Black Arrow’, ‘The Boy’s King Arthur’, ‘The Old Pew’, ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ and pieces from ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Kidnapped.’ N.C.’s house and studio were also acquired by the museum and are now open for tours. N.C.’s five children were artistically adept as well. His well-known daughters, Carolyn and Henriette, possessed tremendous artistic talent and are well-represented in the museum. N.C.’s youngest son, Andrew, was particularly gifted and went on to become one of the most influential figures in American art.

The Skilled Son

The Andrew Wyeth Gallery contains approximately 40 watercolors, tempera, and dry brush paintings, some of which being ‘Night Sleeper’, ‘Roasted Chestnuts’, ‘Siri’, ‘Snow Hill’, ‘Trodden Weed’, ‘Pennsylvania Landscape’ and ‘Evening at Kuerner’s’, a painting that portrays the neighboring Kuerner Farm owned by Karl and Anna Kuerner. The farm was a major inspiration for Andrew for over 70 years. His earliest painting of the property goes back to 1932, when Andrew was only a mere 15 years old. The young artist developed a close bond with the couple, and was soon permitted to roam the property and the interior of the house at will to draw and paint. The Kuerner Farm property was acquired by the museum in 1999, and has been offering tours since 2004.

The Gifted Grandson

The third generation of Wyeths represented at the Brandywine River Museum is Andrew’s younger son, Jamie. In his early twenties, Jamie gained public acclaim for a posthumous painting he had done of the ill-fated John F. Kennedy. On display in the museum, are Jamie’s stunning portraits of fellow artist Andy Warhol and dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Jamie is also well-known for his animal portraits, such as ‘The Raven’, ‘Portrait of Pig’, and ‘Angus’, which are also featured in the museum’s collection. Jamie is praised for his distinguishing style, which is characterized by powerful images and sharp contrasts. He also has an extensive collection of bird paintings on display at the museum. The pieces range from watercolor to oil on canvas, with some pieces displaying combined mediums. Jamie’s bird portraits represent a variety of birds with seemingly human characteristics. See the Brandywine River Museum for more information.

- Written by Dan Woods

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