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The Noble Art of Haying

The Noble Art of Haying

Richards painting (detail)
July 29, 2016

From about mid-summer to mid-October, it’s common in the farm-centric Delaware and Chester counties of Pennsylvania to see haying going on.

Country Gentleman
N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945). Country Gentleman, cover illustration, 1944. Oil on hardboard (Renaissance Panel), 34 3/8 x 27 in. Bequest of Margaret S. Butterfield, 2005
Haying scenes have inspired artists of the region in both the 19th and 20th centuries. William Trost Richards, for example, who owned a farm in Chester County between 1884 and 1890, included a solitary figure cutting hay with a scythe in his monumental landscape The Valley of the Brandywine, Chester County (1886-1887).

In 1944, N. C. Wyeth painted a local haying scene as a cover illustration for Country Gentleman Magazine. His grandson, Denys, who posed for the child in the painting, remembers standing on a hay-covered model stand in Wyeth’s studio, with reins in his hands!

Three generations of Kuerners have hayed the fields at the Kuerner Farm since the 1940s, providing feed for the dairy cows and cattle that were raised there. This year, Karl Kuerner, Jr. retired from the job which has now been “farmed out” and accomplished with the most up-to-date equipment. Duane Lawrence, who did the work, said it was a moving experience to work on the Kuerner Farm. “Growing up as a boy in Chadds Ford, I never imagined I would be given the chance to do that.”

Haying at the Kuerner Farm, July 2016
Haying at the Kuerner Farm, July 2016

Karl J. Kuerner, who hayed with his father, was also artistically inspired by the beautiful fields. Here’s his painting, circa 1991, entitled First Cutting.

Karl J. Kuerner  (b. 1957). First Cutting, circa 1991, Acrylic on panel
Karl J. Kuerner (b. 1957). First Cutting, circa 1991, Acrylic on panel