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Chester County Press

Looking ahead to a new year of art at the Brandywine

12/28/2018 10:14AM ● By J. Chambless

Looking ahead to a new year of art at the Brandywine

The Brandywine River Museum of Art is planning a full year of art exploration, making it a destination for thousands of visitors and local residents in the coming year. Here's a look at what's coming up at the museum:

American Beauty:

Selections from the Richard M. Scaife Bequest

March 9, 2019-May 27, 2019

The Brandywine River Museum of Art and The Westmoreland Museum of American Art have come together in this exhibition to share their finest works from the Richard M. Scaife Bequest. A longtime trustee of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art – as well as a newspaper publisher, art collector, and philanthropist – Scaife left a major part of his extensive art collection to both museums following his death in 2014. This exhibition, which will include 50 paintings, celebrates Scaife’s passion for the rich traditions of American art.

Brandywine and Westmoreland gained masterworks of American art that will be viewed together for the first time in this exhibition. For the Brandywine, Scaife’s gift added significant depth to its landscape holdings, introducing works by Martin Johnson Heade, John Frederick Kensett and Albert Bierstadt, and American Impressionist paintings by Theodore Robinson and Julian Alden Weir. Westmoreland’s collection was also enriched by Scaife’s bequest, adding a landscape by George Inness, for example, along with several marine paintings and figurative works by artists such as William Merritt Chase and Guy Pene du Bois. Together, these paintings present a fascinating overview of the evolution of American art in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

N.C. Wyeth:

New Perspectives

June 22, 2019-Sept. 15, 2019

Known during the 20th century for his bold, imaginative illustrations that brought new characterizations to classic stories such as Treasure Island and The Boy’s King Arthur, N.C. Wyeth vigorously pursued parallel interests in painting landscapes, seascapes, portraits, still lifes, murals, and advertising images throughout his career. “N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives” will be the first exhibition to examine in depth the entirety of Wyeth’s oeuvre, repositioning him within the greater context of early 20th century American visual culture.

Wyeth employed the skills honed in his illustration work to address various thematic and stylistic currents running through the first five decades of the century. While incorporating the best of Wyeth’s illustrations, the exhibition will also feature aspects of his art that until now have garnered less scholarly attention, significantly expanding the arc of his multi-faceted career.

The exhibition will include approximately 70 paintings and drawings selected from major museums and private collections. A number of objects from the artist’s studio collection, ranging from Native American and Western artifacts to a first edition of Treasure Island, will also be included. The accompanying catalogue will contain essays by scholars who will explore relevant issues.

Fractured Fairy Tales:

From the Conventional to the Unconventional

Oct. 5, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020

Fairy tales are age-old stories that teach life lessons, touch on dark fears and elemental truths, and seed nascent imaginations. The universality of their appeal has inspired illustrators for centuries.

“Fractured Fairy Tales: From the Conventional to the Unconventional” is an examination of illustrations for three well-known and beloved fairy tales – Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Three Little Pigs. The exhibition is organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art, which will be the exclusive venue.

For this exhibition, guest curator H. Nichols B. Clark has deflected textual considerations and focused on the broad array of imagery; the central premise is to consider the three tales and upend the status quo of traditional depictions. The work of nineteenth and early twentieth-century masters such as George Cruikshank, Walter Crane, and L. Leslie Brooke will provide examples of classic styles and interpretations that influenced numerous traditional artists such as Marcia Brown, Paul Galdone, Barbara McClintock, and Jerry Pinkney. These images will be juxtaposed with unconventional interpretations, such as the more experimental and edgy visions exemplified by the art of Steven Guarnaccia, James Marshall, Lane Smith, William Wegman, David Wiesner, and Mo Willems.

Votes for Women:

A Visual History

Feb. 1, 2020-June 7, 2020

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which guaranteed women the right to vote. The long road to women’s suffrage, spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, played out very differently from political movements today. In the absence of televised and digital media, the suffragists spread their message through magazines, political cartoons, posters, plays, parades and even through fashion.

This exhibition will examine the visual culture of the suffrage movement, revealing how the “look” of women’s rights developed, drawing upon such wide ranging allegorical and historical figures such as ancient heralds, Columbia, Joan of Arc and Betsy Ross. “Votes for Women: A Visual History” will include drawings, illustrations, and posters from museums, historical societies and private collections that visualize the complex political messages conveyed by suffragists. Also included will be historic photographs of marches, rallies and the celebrated procession in Washington. D.C., held in March of 1913. Examples of the costumes, clothing, sashes and other emblems of women’s activism worn by suffragists will enliven the presentation, drawing comparisons between the representations and realities of women’s struggle to win the vote.

Joseph Stella:

Visionary Nature

June 27, 2020-Sept. 20, 2020

A pioneering modernist in American art, Joseph Stella (1877-1946) is recognized primarily for his dynamic Futurist-inspired paintings of New York, in particular Coney Island and the Brooklyn Bridge. Through these majestic works – which emerged beginning in 1913 – Stella established his reputation as a bold and innovative artist who was able to convey the excitement of the city and modern life. At the same time, Stella was compelled to express the powerful spiritual connection he felt with the natural world through his many paintings of flora and fauna.

This was a subject the artist would pursue persistently through his entire career, becoming a prolific creator of lyrical and exuberant depictions of flowers, plants and birds.

“Joseph Stella: Visionary Nature” will include approximately 50 paintings and works on paper drawn from American museums and private collections. This is the first major museum exhibition to focus exclusively on his flora and fauna subjects, and will reveal the complexity and spirituality driving those works and the breadth of his artistic vision.

The exhibition will begin with his delicate renderings of botanical subjects in silverpoint and crayon. Stella’s fantasy-packed floral, plant and bird canvases will follow, revealing the artist’s distinct vision and his intent in evoking in the viewer a sense of wonder and revelation. Stella’s complex allegorical and religious works, incorporating the Madonna and elaborate floral motifs, will come next and will demonstrate his devotion to 15th-century Italian painting (especially Giotto), and his familiarity with the aesthetics of Catholic holy-day processions and rituals. The culmination of the exhibition will be those works emerging from Stella’s trips to North Africa and Barbados in the late 1920s and 1930s.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art (Route 1, Chadds Ford) is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $6 for students with ID and ages 6 to 18, free for children under 5 and members. Visit for more information.