Brandywine Works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The first major survey of American still life since 1981, the show features over 130 works and presents a fresh view of the genre in the context of American cultural history. Included from the Brandywine River Museum of Art are Jefferson David Chalfant’s Which is Which (ca. 1890-93), Horace Pippin’s Potted Plant in Window (1943) and Andrew Wyeth’s Woodshed (1944).
The exhibition’s curator, Mark Mitchell, was eager to borrow the works, finding each significant to the exhibition in different ways.
The Gift of Choice
Chalfant’s trompe l’oeil painting was noted as truly inviting the viewer to participate in its illusion by allowing him or her to choose which “stamp” was real and which was painted.
Strength in Simplicity
Self-taught artist Horace Pippin’s bold and expressive Potted Plant was interestingly paired in the exhibition with a still life by the academically trained modernist, Charles Sheeler, showing the similarities in each artist’s appreciation of strong, simple shapes.
Power of Two Crows
Andrew Wyeth’s stark, dynamic depiction of two dead crows hanging on the side of a woodshed was distinguished for its psychological intensity and suggestive symbolism.
Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life is on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through January 10, 2016.