N.C. Wyeth’s studio (Photo: JJ Tiziou)
For young readers in the early 20th century, the worlds of Robin Hood, King Arthur and his knights, and the pirates of Treasure Island were indelibly defined by the magnificent book illustrations of N.C. Wyeth. The rural beauty of Pennsylvania’s Brandywine River Valley held a strong and significant link for Wyeth, with connections to family and art that endured throughout his life. A day-long visit to the area led by art historian Bonita Billman brings that personal landscape to life, and offers an opportunity to view an exhibition of Wyeth’s works that represents the wider scope of his creative output. The day also includes a visit to a local winery.
N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives at the Brandywine River Museum of Art places the artist within the greater context of early 20th century American visual culture. A master of many styles and a brilliant colorist, Wyeth employed the skills honed in his illustration work as he pursued parallel interests in painting landscapes, seascapes, portraits, still lifes, murals, and advertising images throughout his career. Incorporating the best of Wyeth’s illustrations, the exhibition also features aspects of his art that until now have garnered less attention, significantly expanding the arc of his multi-faceted career.
Travel offsite in small-group shuttles to see N.C. Wyeth’s home and studio in Chadds Ford, built on 18 acres of property he purchased in 1911 with proceeds from his illustrations from Treasure Island. The main studio, with its spectacular Palladian-style north window, still contains many of the props that were essential to the work of an illustrator, including a birch-bark canoe hanging from the rafters and a collection of firearms. The house, with its country furnishings, reveals a more intimate picture of family life, in which Wyeth was the patriarch of an artistic dynasty.
A sandwich buffet is included at the Millstone Café, which features a seasonally inspired and locally sourced menu. The day ends with a tour of the scenic Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery in Kennett Square. Co-owner Lele Galer, an artist, incorporated a wide variety of unexpected visual touches throughout the estate’s design, including paintings, stained glass, a rooftop whirligig, and art deco doors from a New York City bank. Winemaker Virginia Mitchell offers samples of her own art as she leads a tasting of some of the winery’s products paired with local cheeses.
Fringe stop at about 8:40 a.m.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit
Departs from the Holiday Inn Capitol at
550 C St SW (corner of 6th & C Sts)
Fringe: I-495, Exit 27 carpool parking lot