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Chester County Press

An upcoming season of riches at the Brandywine

07/29/2019 12:41PM ● By J. Chambless

Edmund Dulac (1882-1953), ‘She made her escape as lightly as a deer,’ (ca. 1910). Illustration for ‘The Sleeping Beauty, and other Fairy Tales from the Old French.’

Looking ahead to the fall and beyond, the Brandywine River Museum of Art has an ambitious series of exhibitions that will draw a wide, diverse audience. The schedule includes:

Reality Reassembled:

The Halloween Paintings of Peter Paone

Sept. 14 to Nov. 3, 2019

The museum presents an exhibition of the Halloween-themed paintings of renowned Philadelphia artist Peter Paone (born in 1936).  Halloween has long been a subject of fascination for the artist, and in the last decade he has produced a series of works devoted to the theme. Richly painted in jewel tones and textured surfaces, these works give visual form to his view of Halloween as a “day of denial,” one in which people have the freedom to adopt different personas that often reflect their inner desires. Paone creates paintings of extravagantly costumed figures whose mask-like expressions create an unsettling mood.

These mysterious, provocative and sometimes unsettling works reflect Paone’s own psychologically charged conception of Halloween. Deeply personal, the works that will be exhibited are deliberately open-ended, inviting speculation and challenging viewers to bring their own interpretation.

Paone’s career has spanned six decades.  He has had more than 50 solo exhibitions of his paintings and prints in his native Philadelphia, as well as in New York, London, Vienna and Hamburg. He has also participated in numerous national and international group exhibitions. Among the many public institutions in which Paone’s work is represented are the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Woodmere Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University Art Gallery, and the British Museum, in London. A respected teacher, Paone taught for more than 30 years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


Cinderella & Co.:

Three Fairy Tales Reimagined

Oct. 5, 2019 through Jan. 5, 2020

This is an examination of illustrations for three well-known and beloved fairy tales “Cinderella,” “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” and “The Three Little Pigs.”

Guest curator H. Nichols B. Clark of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art emeritus, has 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 orthodox 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.

Rich multicultural readings, such as those from China (Ed Young), the Spice Islands of Indonesia (Reynold Ruffins), the Caribbean (Brian Pinkney), Russia (Anita Lobel), and Mexico (Tomie dePaola) underscore the notion that these treasured stories live visually in many different forms and lend themselves to surprisingly diverse interpretation


Votes for Women:

A Visual History

Feb. 1, 2020 to June 7, 2020

“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.

The exhibition will present a more inclusive historical narrative, recognizing the efforts of women of color and their community networks, which have long been ignored. The visual lessons of the suffrage movement provided a model for later activism, including the civil rights and social justice movements up to the present day, making this not just a centennial celebration, but a window into contemporary visual discourse.


Witness to History:

Selma Photography of Stephen Somerstein

Feb. 1, 2020 to June 14, 2020

The historic 1965 Selma to Montgomery, Ala., civil rights march concerned one issue -- the right to vote. Two thousand marchers set out on March 21 along Route 80, known as the “Jefferson Davis Highway.” After two failed attempts to complete the march, President Johnson dispatched federal and state troops to guard the demonstrators along the way to the state capitol, 54 miles away. By the time the marchers reached Montgomery, their number had grown to 25,000.

Hearing of the events, 24-year-old student photographer Stephen Somerstein jumped on a bus in New York city and headed to Alabama. He arrived on March 25, in time for the final march to the state capitol. With five cameras around his neck and only 15 rolls of film, Somerstein seemed to be everywhere at once documenting this pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. He captured photographs of Dr. King and other prominent activists such as Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, and Joan Baez. Somerstein also took poignant portraits of his fellow demonstrators, as well as the anonymous bystanders who had gathered along route to observe the civil action in progress.

This exhibition presents 55 of the photographs taken by Somerstein on March 25, 1965, accompanied by his commentary of the day’s events. It is guest curated by Farrah Spott and on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art as a companion to the exhibition “Votes for Women: A Visual History.”

The Brandywine River Museum of Art is on Route 1 in Chadds Ford. Visit for more information.