Farnsworth Art Museum
Left to right: The Farnsworth has multiple entrances, this one accessing the gift shop at the corner of Main and Elm Streets; the Center for the Wyeth Family in Maine, located behind the Museum on Elm Street. Photo courtesy of John Hazeltine.
A Century of Wyeths
Approximately 60 tempera, oil, watercolor, pencil, and mixed media works by N. C. Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, primarily from the MBNA corporate collection but supplemented with additional works from the Brandywine River Museum and private collections, will be featured at the Farnsworth Art Museum from May 29 through October 17, 1999.
MBNA has long had a policy of collecting the work of artists who live and work in proximity to the company's numerous facilities throughout the United States and especially in Maine and Delaware. The collection as a whole emphasizes living artists and contemporary American realism. While only the Wyeths will be featured in this exhibition, the MBNA collection also includes works by Peter Sculthorpe, Linden Frederick, Michael Moore, Peter Ralston and numerous other highly regarded but less well-known regional artists.
Newell Convers Wyeth is well represented in the MBNA collection, particularly in the form of his illustration work. Several illustrations from magazine articles, as well as "The Maine Sea Captain's Daughter," from Kenneth Roberts' book "Trending Into Maine," are included. "Easel paintings," or works not done for commission, will be seen as well. "Chadds Ford Meadow" is an impressionistic view of two of his daughters wading in a stream in Chadds Ford, PA. An unusual tempera painting, "Eight Bells," shows his son Andrew absorbed in drawing in the cabin of a Port Clyde lobster boat.
The work of Andrew Wyeth is a strong part of the collection as well. Several fascinating studies for paintings show the process of artistic creation, such as "Study for Refuge," "Study for My Young Friend," "Study for Ides of March," "Study for Nogeeshik," and "Blueberries, Study for Distant Thunder." The watercolors "Hunter's Ledge" and "Deep Woods" explore the beauty and intensity of the Maine woodlands. A recent addition to the MBNA collection, and never before exhibited in the U. S., is a major tempera painting entitled "Antler Crown." Suggesting the biblical crown of thorns, the suspended ring of antlers is also reminiscent of Nordic myth, conveying a strangely unsettling sense of dead calm and absolute silence in the quotidian setting of a Chadds Ford farm and mill.
The work of James Wyeth comprises the majority of the MBNA-Wyeth collection. The bank began collecting his paintings in 1996 and has continued to acquire pieces ranging from the beginning of his career up to the present. Early works include the drybrush "Bathtub" and the watercolor "Pole, Stump, and Sign." There is a strong group of works depicting his lighthouse and the various flora and fauna on Southern Island, such as "Light Station," "Lighthouse Dandelions," and "The Thief". Two of his most recently completed works will be seen here. "The Church," which depicts the MBNA Wyeth Center Galleries at first light following the last snowstorm of the winter, and "The Tempest, a Triptych," a mysterious, ambitious and tumultuous depiction of a girl's coming of age. The Farnsworth Art Museum is also fortunate to be able to present "Draft Age," from the collection of the Brandywine River Museum, a portrait of the artist's friend, Jimmy Lynch, at age 18, at the height of the Vietnam War.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog and is made possible through the generous support of MBNA America.
Images from top to bottom (click on the thumbnail images to enlarge them): Andrew Wyeth, "Antler Crown," 1983, tempera on panel, Collection of MBNA, ©Andrew Wyeth; James Wyeth, "The Church," 1999, oil on canvas, Collection of MBNA, ©James Wyeth
Read more about the Farnsworth Art Museum.in Resource Library Magazine
For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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