Rare Wyeth Prints Released for 50th Anniversary
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art this year, a number of collectible art reproductions, which have been kept safely in storage, are reappearing again for the first time in five decades.
Celebrating 50 Years
In the mid-1960’s, Chadds Ford Pennsylvania, a rural community nestled in the historic Brandywine Valley, faced possible massive industrial development. The impact would have dramatically changed the character and future of this area.
Appreciating the need for rapid action, a group of local residents bought the endangered land and founded the Brandywine Conservancy in 1967. The first conservation easements, protecting more than five and one-half miles along the Brandywine, were granted in 1969. Today, the Conservancy holds more than 458 conservation easements and has protected more than 62,000 acres in Chester and Delaware counties, Pennsylvania, and in New Castel County Delaware.
In 1971, the Conservancy opened the Brandywine River Museum of Art in the renovated Hoffman’s Mill, a historic building from 1864 that was part of the Conservancy’s first preservation efforts. The Museum gained an international reputation for its unparalleled collection and its dedication to American art with primary emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region, still-life and landscape painting, the work of the Wyeth family and American illustration.
Howard Pyle is among the hundreds of artists represented, as well as many students of Pyle who affected the course of American illustration, including N. C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth.
Collecting a Piece of Wyeth History
In 1971, Andrew Wyeth authorized a suite of art reproductions, shown in the image above, that were selected and produced under his guidance and were approved by the Wyeth family. A certain number of these prints were set aside and stored carefully for decades, and are now being released again. For this project, Andrew Wyeth chose several temperas and watercolors that he considered to be representative of his work over the decades.
Working closely with the Brandywine River Museum, the New York Graphic Society (exclusive distributors for the Wyeth prints) and Triton Press, Wyeth produced and oversaw the production of these art reproductions at Triton Press in New York.
A selection of the beautiful reproductions is represented below. Visit our online gallery for the complete list.
Throughout his seven-decade career, Wyeth was drawn to the flora and fauna of the natural landscape surrounding his favored sites in Pennsylvania and Maine. In this broadly brushed watercolor painted along the mill race of his Chadds Ford property, Wyeth contrasts the fragile luminous spring flowers against the dark wetness and leaves that surround them.
Always fascinated by the texture and color of old hay wagons, carts and other remnants of farming, Wyeth painted and drew them often. The title here comes from the marsh hawk sitting on a fence in the left distance.
Alvaro Olson’s dory—relinquished when he took over the care of his disabled sister, Christina—sits on a ledge in the dark recesses of a barn on the family farm in Maine, a symbolic reminder of his former life as a fisherman.
The cold stillness that pervades this wintry scene is punctuated by the figure of Betsy Wyeth whose clothing and stance are reminiscent of a sentry standing guard at a remote outpost.
Wyeth described this view of an attic window in the Olson house in Maine as a portrait of his friend and model Christina Olson, noting that the crocheted birds in the curtain’s lace pattern were “as delicate as the real Christina.”
In addition to these rare Andrew Wyeth prints, the museum is also offering Draft Age by Jamie Wyeth, as well as N. C. Wyeth Bill Bones image from the 1911 illustration for an edition of Treasure Island, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. The Bill Bones exhibition poster was printed in 1971 to celebrate the opening of the Brandywine River Museum.
Painted by nineteen year old Jamie Wyeth, Draft Age became a powerful statement of the Vietnam War era. In 1999, through the generosity of many donors, the Brandywine River Museum of Art was able to add this work to its permanent collection.
For its grand opening in 1971, the Brandywine River Museum engaged Triton Press to print an exhibition poster for the inaugural exhibition. This poster features Bill Bones (All day he hung round the cove, or upon the cliffs, with a brass telescope) from Wyeth's 1911 edition of Treasure Island. This poster features the dates from the museum’s first exhibition.
View the entire collection and order online or call the museum shop at 610-388-8326 to order yours today. Quantities are extremely limited.
Header photo credit: Brandywine River Museum of Art staff photographer, art reproductions hanging in the museum atrium, early 1970’s