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Brandywine Works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Brandywine Works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

gallery
January 4, 2016

Three works from the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s collection are currently on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s highly-praised exhibition Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life

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.

Jefferson David Chalfant (1856-1931), Which is Which?, ca. 1890-93, oil on panel with printed paper, 3 5/8 x 5 3/8”.  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Scaife and the Allegheny Foundation, 1997.
Jefferson David Chalfant, Which is Which, ca. 1890-93, oil on panel with printed paper

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. 

Horace Pippin, Potted Plant in a Window, 1943, oil on fabric
Horace Pippin (1888-1946), Potted Plant in a Window, 1943, oil on canvas, 7 x 9”. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Scott, 1981.

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.  

Andrew Wyeth, Woodshed, 1944, Tempera on panel
Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), Woodshed, 1944, tempera on panel, 31 ½ x 56 ¾”. Bequest of C. Porter Schutt, 1995. © Andrew Wyeth

Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life is on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through January 10, 2016.