The Foundation’s collection—assembled primarily by Betsy, who was Andrew Wyeth’s muse and who also carefully documented his career—is deeply personal and gives significant insight into Wyeth’s artistic and career trajectory. It comprises nearly 7,000 works from across Wyeth’s seven decades as a working artist, with rarely seen paintings, watercolors, sketches and sketchbooks. The Brandywine will oversee the collection and—with a new curatorial position at the Museum funded by the Wyeth Foundation to supervise the collection—conduct research, develop exhibitions and make works available for loan to other institutions. The Wyeth Foundation collection will be located jointly at Brandywine and the Farnsworth Art Museum and rotating presentation of works will be on view in both museums’ galleries throughout the year.
Based in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the Brandywine focuses on American art and has had longstanding relationships with the Wyeth family. The museum has generated some of the most well-received exhibitions and scholarship on three generations of Wyeth family artists. In 2017, the Brandywine’s Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect exhibition presented more than 100 of the artist’s most important paintings and works on paper, along with a catalogue publishing new perspectives on his work and career.
The Farnsworth, in Rockland, Maine, is also recognized for its connections to the Wyeth family, who spent summers living and working in Maine. Its recent exhibition Andrew Wyeth: Maine Legacy highlighted the artist’s connections to the area. In both Pennsylvania and Maine, the Wyeths were engaged by the landscapes and the people living there, finding inspiration for works that at once capture the majesty of nature and the everyday lives of the artists and their subjects.
“We are so excited to formalize a partnership with the Brandywine River Museum of Art and the Farnsworth Art Museum to ensure that Andrew and Betsy Wyeth’s collection is well-maintained and available for the public to enjoy,” said J. Robinson West, the President of the Wyeth Foundation for American Art’s Board of Trustees. “The Wyeth family is closely connected to both Chadds Ford and coastal Maine, with long relationships with both of these institutions. This collections management arrangement draws on the expertise of these two great museums in managing works of art, while underscoring the mission of the Foundation to support scholarship and exhibitions of Wyeth’s work, now and into the future, both at these two museums and around the world.”
The Foundation also announced today that it has given an outright gift to the Brandywine River Museum of Art of close to 200 pieces of art formerly in the collection of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth. Highlights of the gift include over 40 works by N. C. Wyeth, whose letters were published by Betsy Wyeth in 1970, leading to a major reconsideration of his career. Also included are more than 30 works by Howard Pyle, as well as paintings and drawings by Daniel Garber, Carolyn Wyeth, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Peter Hurd, John McCoy, George A. “Frolic” Weymouth and others. This gift further strengthens the Brandywine’s deep holdings of works by N. C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Henriette and Carolyn Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth—all of whom resided nearby. The Brandywine also owns and operates N. C. Wyeth’s House and Studio, Andrew Wyeth’s Studio and the Kuerner Farm, ensuring that all three National Historic Landmarks are maintained and open to the public.
“We are thrilled by this generous and transformative gift that will greatly enhance Brandywine’s already extensive assemblage of landscape painting and American illustration, giving the Museum the largest collection of art by N. C. Wyeth and very significant holdings of work by Howard Pyle,” said Thomas Padon, the James H. Duff Director of the Brandywine River Museum of Art. This follows an historic gift to the Farnsworth of 26 works by three generations of Wyeth family artists from Betsy Wyeth’s collection made through the Wyeth Foundation in summer 2021.