BY BETH WOJCIECHOWSKI
In February, the Brandywine Museum of Art, just over the Pennsylvania-Delaware border in Chadds Ford, welcomed the “Andrew Wyeth: Home Places” exhibition featuring Andrew Wyeth’s most iconic artworks of local buildings.
Wyeth, an artist from Chadds Ford, was born in 1917. He is considered one of the best-known realist painters of the 20th century and his pieces have been showcased at some of the most prominent galleries in the U.S., including the MoMA in New York City and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..
The Brandywine River Museum holds the largest collection of Wyeth’s pieces in the United States, with a current count of nearly 7,000 pieces. Their newest exhibit, “Andrew Wyeth: Home Places,” features “nearly 50 paintings and drawings of local buildings that inspired Wyeth time and time again over seven decades of his career,” according to the exhibition’s webpage. “Andrew Wyeth: Home Places” is a temporary display that will be open until June of this year.
This exhibition features pieces that have been pulled from the museum’s newly acquired Andrew and Betsy Wyeth collection. According to William L. Coleman, Wyeth Foundation director and curator, these pieces have never been publicly on display before.
When studying this collection, Coleman found a pattern of portraits of houses and local buildings.
While these pieces focus on the buildings of Chadds Ford where Wyeth found much inspiration during his seven-decade career, Coleman said that these pieces and what they express are more universal than they seem.
“I consider these artworks significant not just to the region, but to the world,” Coleman said. “Though his practice was rooted in the Chadds Ford landscape for more than seven decades, he found his way to a visionary modernism that delved beneath the visible surface of ordinary places and people to the layers of depth we all contain.”
Wyeth’s pieces are significant in the sense that they still remain relevant decades after they were originally created. Art is a means of connection, and if people can still connect to a piece of art made before they were even born, then that is the true mark of a good artist, according to Coleman.
“Living with these largely unseen artworks on our walls has made me more attuned to the layers of stories in the ordinary places around us,” Coleman said. “I hope it will have a similar effect on visitors. Beneath that parking lot or strip mall you see every day are thousands of years of dramas, large and small.”