It’s no surprise that the Wyeth family loved to paint—in a place as beautiful as the Brandywine Valley, you can’t help but be inspired. This year, Andrew Wyeth would have been 100 years old, and the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania is recognizing his family’s greatness with an exhibition of more than 100 pieces from various collectors and loans from museums around the world. Brandywine River Museum also contains exhibits with other American artists like Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper.
The Brandywine River Museum of Art is a must-see experience for arts enthusiasts any time. The patriarch of the Wyeth family, N.C. Wyeth was the pioneer who built a farmhouse and studio on this property. Here, he and his wife raised his children, all of whom became artists. Their son Andrew gained the most fame for his work featuring the scenery and people of the Brandywine Valley.
The museum features the work of both Andrew and Andrew’s son Jamie Wyeth. All of it unusual and memorable, especially Jamie’s images of Andy Warhol. There were a total of eight artists over three generations working here. The museum is built into what was a 19th-century gristmill with gorgeous views of the Brandywine River. There’s also a gift shop and cafe. A shuttle transports visitors to the Wyeth home, Andrew Wyeth’s studio and father N.C. Wyeth’s studio.
To me N.C. Wyeth’s story was the most moving part of my visit. N.C. owed his success to his illustrations of various children’s books including The Odyssey and Treasure Island. He also painted murals that hung in various businesses around Pennsylvania, keeping his family well taken care of during the dark days of the Great Depression. His lucrative career came to an end when, at age 62, his car stalled on train tracks, and a speeding train hit the car. N.C. Wyeth and his grandson were killed. On display is the last painting he painted here. His children and wife decided to leave his paint palate the way they found it.
The museum is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information or to plan a trip to the Brandywine Valley, visit www.VisitWilmingtonDE.com.
For more information, check out Artsy’s Andrew Wyeth page.
Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.