In 2017, the Brandywine River Museum of Art celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, acknowledging a period of extraordinary innovation and growth. Capping the anniversary year is this survey of recent additions to the permanent collection. Recent Acquisitions includes works of art acquired by purchase, donation, or promised gift. These works speak to both the Museum’s past and future, building upon the founders’ aspirations and positioning the institution for the next half-century.
The Brandywine was conceived as a museum of American art with a particular strength in artists who have lived or worked in this region. Its core collection features landscape, still-life, and trompe l’oeil painting; illustration; and works created by three generations of Wyeth family artists. The acquisitions in the gallery strengthen the Museum’s holdings in these key areas; they also mark a significant and exciting broadening of the scope of art collected by the Brandywine.
Included in Recent Acquisitions is N. C. Wyeth’s masterful tempera painting Island Funeral (1939), gift of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Andrew Wyeth is represented by three watercolors—Master of the Hounds (1949) depicting local horseman Gilbert Mather, also a gift from the du Pont Company; The Pirates (1939), a delightful fantasy acquired through the Museum Volunteers’ Purchase Fund; and Murlanda (1996), a portrait of the Wyeths’ long-time friend and collection manager Mary Landa, a gift of Dr. Robert Baker. Newly acquired work by Jamie Wyeth spans his career; from a portrait of Deo du Pont Weymouth done in 1964, the gift of the sitter’s grandson McCoy du Pont Weymouth; to the recently completed portraits of Andy Warhol (First in the Screen Door Sequence, 2015), gift of George A. Weymouth; and of George A. Weymouth (Frolic, 2017), the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert V. Kohler, Jr.
A major gift of prints by John Sloan is represented by 8 examples of the artist’s meticulous printmaking skills, given in memory of Helen Farr Sloan by Paul Preston Davis. Views of Jeffries’ Ford by Barclay Rubincam, the gift of Mamie Duff and Scott Richard, and of the Brandywine Valley by the Wilmington, Delaware, artist William D. White, promised gift of Nancy Carol Willis, enhance the Brandywine’s collection of landscapes. Five inkjet prints on rag paper by the conceptual photo-based artist James Welling take the Brandywine’s interest in landscape depiction into the 21st century.
The Trustees and staff are grateful to those individuals and corporations who have honored the Brandywine with their gifts and whose generosity has enhanced the Museum’s mission to collect, preserve, and exhibit American art.