Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Brandywine River Musuem

A week ago today, I was at the Brandywine River Museum. (Aka, the Wyeth Museum.) I knew the day would be a good one when, early on, we saw a bald eagle fly over the Jersey Turnpike. I know eagles are occasionaly seen in the area but I never thought I’d actually spot one. Once at the museum, we met up with a group of friends -- it was the always lovely Julie Bell’s birthday and she made a great picnic for us, including ultra yummy cupcakes.

Currently the Brandywine is hosting an exhibit called Flights into Fantasy. A children's book show that includes Arthur Rackham, Elizabeth Shippen Green, Kay Nielsen,and many other giants. The show is stunning. If you enjoy the work of contemporary illustrators such as Charles Vess, Tony DeTerillizzi, Tom Canty, and others of their ilk, you should check it out. It will be on display until November 18th and then moves up to the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst.

And then, of course, there are the 3 Wyeths...

I first visited the Brandywine a number of years ago. I was basically going to see N.C.’s work, which truly is wonderful, but after going through the Andrew galleries.....honestly, I have never since hesitated for a second when asked who my favorite artist is. I don’t think I’ve ever been as affected by a painter as by Andrew Wyeth’s work. The guy has basically painted his backyard for 80 years. At first blush the work appears formal and tightly rendered and yet once you get on top of it, and especially when you are confronted with a body of work, it becomes strange and loose and deeply personal. It appears to be full of secret iconography. It does not matter if I don’t understand the symbols, the fact that some inner language is being spoken directly at me is enough to give me entre, or at east a glimpse, into a starkly beautiful, if at times slightly unsettling, world.

And Jamie Weyth can be cool too.

We toped off the day by seeing Tony Palumbo’s exihibit at a gallery in Philadelphia -- a young man painting far better than his years should allow.


Adam Rex said...

Where's the Palumbo show? I'll go have a look.

Mike Dutton said...

I remember my first time on the East Coast, I was travelling by myself for the first time, and I was there to study who I considered the masters: Wyeth, Pyle, Dunn. I was there in the middle of January, this 21 yr old west coast kid, skidding on ice in a rental, recovering from a flu during the first three days... my fault for sleeping in the Philly airport my first night just to avoid paying for a motel.

When I finally made it to the Delaware Art Museum, the Wondrous Strange exhibit happened to be up, and I just wept gratefully in the parking lot. I think I stared at Pyle's Marooned for a good twenty minutes, but short story long, I gained a real appreciation for Andrew's work that day, and I'd say without a doubt that he's my absolute favorite artist now.

Sorry for the rambling, I just get nostalgic when I hear about Brandywine related stuff and figured it was a good story to share. :)

Irene Gallo said...

Thanks for the story, Dutton!

Funny – when I first met Robert McGinnis I was terrified but we quickly go on the topic of Andrew Wyeth and spent all night talking. One of my early conversations with Michael Deas was about Andrew Wyeth, and we also spent hours talking about him. It seems when Andrew Wyeth hits someone, he hits them _hard._

Anonymous said...

Hey Adam,
Tony's show is at The Artists House on 2nd Street in Philadelphia.
Hope to see you sometime soon!

Hey Irene,
Thanks for mentioning the cupcakes. That was such a great day to share with all of you guys!
See you in Saratoga,

Jorge Mascarenhas said...

"When Andrew Wyeth hits someone, he hits them hard." You just nailed the exact quote for the impact Andrew makes on lot of people in general. He continously blows my mind, and my biggest wish is to see one of his originals in person. Great post!

capprotti said...

I've REALLY got to get back to the Brandywine River Museum! And I have to say, Tony has made my draw not only drop to the floor, but break right through it... ruining the artist house's beautiful hardwood! Ha ha, seriously, an amazing show as usual. I wish I could have stopped by there every morning. He has a way of making you want to be a better artist. Were you guys there on first friday? I got to the door and they weren't letting anyone else in. Ha ha, I wish they'd stay open a little bit later.

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