Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trip to Philadelphia, Pt. 2: Brandywine
Almost every trip to Philly includes a detour to Brandywine, where one of my favorite art collections resides. This year's visit included my first tour of the Andrew Wyeth Studio, which the artist used from 1940 to 2008, a year before his passing. Arriving early, I walked around the museum and took a few shots before the bus for the tour began loading. The building itself is a mix of old (a 19th century gristmill) and new; the new part with its reflective glass looks very dated, and has not aged well. I just attempt to ignore it and focus on the inside!
There are a number of bronze pieces on the property; some of my favorites include this cow named Miss Gratz by J. Clayton Bright:
and a pig named Helen by André Harvey, who seems as if she could spring to life at any second.
The Andrew Wyeth Studio (once a schoolhouse) is nothing to be impressed about from the outside, other than the beautiful property on which it is situated. Signs warning "I do not sign autographs" and "beware of the dog" were posted on the door to keep lurkers away from the artist while he was working.
Once inside, you'll see a number of very large picture windows which are ideal for creating art.
All of his brushes, paints, and even a carton of eggs (for his egg tempura paintings) are on display as if he were going to return at any moment, despite the fact that he passed away four years ago.
The tour guide was marvelous, and shared the purpose of the mirror. By looking at your work in the mirror, the reverse image will show you flaws that the naked eye might not catch quite as easily. I have used this many times and it really is amazing.
A view of the barren landscape is offset by an evergreen.
The library was littered with inspirational props and literary source material. This headless doll was fascinating, leaning against the wall with its expressively curled fingers.
The decapitated head was very macabre, just resting on its side below the body.
Wyeth's skeletons weren't in the closet; they were on display in the library for all to see.
This large picture window served as the perfect setting for a portion of Andrew's large military miniature collection.
This particular studio was my favorite, showing sketches that Jamie (Andrew's son) created for his posthumous portrait of JFK. He used Robert and Ted to help him create a more life-life painting.
Hanging above the mantel was this reproduction painting of Blind Pew from Treasure Island, created by N.C. Wyeth, my very favorite painter of the family.
After the studio tour, we took a stroll through the regular museum, which was beginning to prepare for the annual Christmas exhibit.
On the way home, we had lunch at Terrain in Glen Mills, a wonderful little restaurant that specializes in organic and locally-crafted fare.
Despite the gloomy day, the interior was bright and cheery, designed to look like a hothouse.
My burger and fingerling potatoes hit the spot. It wasn't until I got the check that I realized that this place was owned by Urban Outfitters.
What I was REALLY looking forward to was dessert, which we devoured at Handel's Ice Cream Shop, located in downtown Berwyn.
Note the cherry that stands in for an apostrophe on this bench.
No photos of my salted caramel ice cream; I was too busy savoring it to shoot it. Tomorrow: celebrate Grace Kelly with me as I visit the James Michener Museum in Doylestown.
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