Brandywine Art Museum and Andrew Wyeth
How I fell in love with the magic of Andrew Wyeth.
The Brandywine Art Museum located in Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania is a wonderful place to visit. Fans of the three generations of Wyeth artists plan visits to see the Wyeth collections; including tours of the Wyeth home, studio, and the Kuerner farm.
My first visit was part of a meandering drive through the rolling hills and countryside, with a quick stop to see a special Andrew Wyeth exhibition. I arrived as a just-along-for-the-ride visitor and left as a Wyeth fan.
The Brandywine Art Museum building is a wonderful combination of 19th century gristmill and beautiful modern glass walled museum addition looking over the Brandywine Creek. I have since visited during all seasons. I find the stark winterscape just as beautiful as the wildflower filled summers. But it was on that very first visit that I fell in love with the texture, the feeling, and the magic of Andrew Wyeth's art.
Image Credit: These photographs are my personal photographs from my travels. Images are Dawn Rae - All Rights Reserved.
A Few of My Photographs of the MuseumClick thumbnail to view full-size
My First Day Trip to Chadd's Ford.
My partner, the Mister, is many things and has many talents. One of the ways I describe him is “artistic”. Andrew Wyeth was one of his favorite artists. I had never really heard of Andrew Wyeth, or his family. But I agreed that one of our Sunday drives would be to the Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania area and would include a stop at Brandywine Art Museum to see a special Andrew Wyeth exhibition.
The museum always displays Andrew’s works, but on some occasions, the exhibition includes works that are not normally on exhibition. The Mister was excited about going. I had leafed through his copy of Andrew Wyeth: Memory & Magic and thought Wyeth’s work was good but I didn’t feel any kind of emotional connection or interest.
I enjoyed the ride through the hills, across creeks and rivers, and under large reaching trees. There is something about the trees that grow in that area. Wyeth’s paintings of trees were not exaggerated or fantasy, they truly are large, twisted, and ancient trees.
Children's Activities at Brandywine Art Museuem
Avoiding the "Mom, I'm bored" announcement.
Brandywine Art Museum is a small, quiet, and relaxing museum to visit. It is easy to become lost in the works of art or to sit and look out over the river from the glass wall portion of the museum. A few times, during visits, I noticed a comfortable silence as people stood and gazed at the art. Because it is so quiet and focused on the works of art, I'm not sure that young children would find this an interesting place to visit. While I wasn't watching for activities for children during our visits, I did not notice any hands-on activities or exhibits specifically geared toward children.
With further reading, I learned that there are times and activities that are geared for children's enjoyment and education. They include:
* The Christmas holiday season with Christmas Tree exhibits and a Train exhibit. Exhibits are well-attended by children.
* Art classes and activities for children are listed in the website. Including Thursday mornings in July that are slated for children's Museum Explorer program.
* Special field trip activities for students who attend with their schools.
Please be sure to visit the official museum website in order to find the dates and times of these special exhibits.
Andrew Wyeth: Memory & Magic
"I wish I could paint without me existing - that just my hands were there," he once said "When I'm alone in the woods, across the fields, I forget all about myself. I don't exist... but if I'm suddenly reminded of myself, that I'm me - then everything falls to pieces" - Andrew Wyeth
As I mentioned earlier, we owned this book prior to our visit. I had leafed through it and thought that the paintings were nice but they didn't do very much for me. As I stood in front of many of the same paintings at the museum, I was in awe of the textures and the temperatures of the paintings. I am in no way a student of art, so I'm not at all sure that I'm using terms that mean anything in the art world. But to me, I could feel the heat of the rock that Helga stood on while nude and I sensed the breeze moving the strands of hair across her shoulders. I swore I could feel the chill of the air as the children danced around the maypole on Snow Hill. Skin and metal milk pails were smooth and rocks and window sills were rough.
Even though I know little about art, I came to fully understand why Andrew Wyeth was an American Realist painter.
Important links - Brandywine Art museum, Chadd's Ford, and Brandywine Valley area information.
Seeing the Brandywine Art Museum probably will take only a couple of hours since it is a small and intimate museum. While you are in the area, you would have time to sight-see. I've included a few links that I feel are helpful here.
- Brandywine Art Museum
The official page of the Brandywine Conservancy and Art Museum. Find the information about museum exhibits, hours, and children's activities here.
- Andrew Wyeth
The authorized page of Andrew Wyeth.
- Brandywine Valley
An awesome page of local events, tours, attractions, shopping, accommodations, cuisine, and services.
- Longwood Gardens
My article about nearby Longwood Gardens. One of the best day trips I've taken in some time.
- Brandywine Valley Covered Bridge Trail
Do you like covered bridges? Chester County is the place to be. This is where to get the information. Chester County adjoins Delaware County.
A Video Self-Portrait of Andrew Wyeth
If you are an Andrew Wyeth fan and do not already own this DVD, you must order it. I purchased it for the Mister after our amazing maiden visit to Brandywine Art Museum. I wanted to make sure to always be reminded of the trip. This self-portrait goes well beyond being a visual reminder of the paintings.
This DVD is a combination of narration by Stacy Keach, Wyeth family home movies, a brief interview with model Helga, and Wyeth's own stories and self-disclosures. The back cover of the DVD case states this is "unforgettable". That is not an exaggeration.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this lens, the Brandywine area, or Andrew Wyeth the artist. Especially if you have any travel tips or special things to see in the area.