Top Exhibitions: “N.C. Wyeth – New Perspectives” At Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, PA

From a Wall Street Journal article by Edward Rothstein:

Brandywine River Museum of Art Wyeth Exhibit The Lobsterman 1944 Metropolitan Museum of ArtIn some cases, Wyeth’s images bore into memory as sharply as the books they illuminate. I’m thankful I never saw Wyeth’s “Captain Nemo” (1918) while steeping myself in Jules Verne’s “The Mysterious Island” (1874): I would never have been able to shed the image Wyeth created of this white-haired, secretive, dying man, surrounded by allusions to his exotic past, his skin seeming bleached, we learn here, by the electrical lighting of his submarine.

 

This is the first retrospective Wyeth has received in a generation, and it may be unfair to begin an account of it with the illustrations that made him a commercial success, for they also haunted him as he struggled to free himself from his reputation as an illustrator— a struggle that ultimately involved his relationship with his more
artistically celebrated son, Andrew, and his attempts to both accommodate and bypass modernist taste. But you can see how they could have had that impact. This show—jointly created with Maine’s Portland Museum of Art, and curated by Christine B. Podmaniczky from the Brandywine and Jessica May from the Portland—pays tribute
to the illustrations’ power and notes, too, that Wyeth often cut his artistic cloth to suit the demands of magazine editors, advertising agencies and bank-building mural planners.

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