The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, December 2, 2021


The Brandywine mourns the loss of Betsy James Wyeth
Betsy James Wyeth, 1968, photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Wyeth Family Archives.



CHADDS FORD, PA.- It is with great sadness that the trustees of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art announce the death of Betsy James Wyeth on April 21, 2020. Betsy was a catalyst in the creation and opening of the Brandywine River Museum of Art and was a visionary in the worlds of art and architecture. She was also a published author, art collector and a driving force in the career of her husband, artist Andrew Wyeth—serving as his muse, business manager and chief archivist of his work. Together with Andrew, she was a major benefactor in the fields of art and education.

Born in East Aurora, New York, on September 26, 1921, Betsy Merle James was the daughter of the late Merle James and Elizabeth Browning James. The youngest of three daughters, Betsy was a graduate of East Aurora High School in New York and briefly attended Colby Junior College in New London, New Hampshire. Her family vacationed in, and ultimately moved to, Cushing, Maine, where at age 17 she met Andrew Wyeth on July 12, 1939—his twenty-second birthday. The couple was married the following year on May 15, 1940, and moved to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Their marriage spanned nearly seven decades before Andrew’s death in 2009.

Early on in their marriage, Betsy took up the role as Andrew’s business manager. She made a significant contribution to the study of American art. Guided by Josephine Hopper—wife of American realist painter Edward Hopper—she began keeping extensive records that would become the basis for the artist’s forthcoming catalogue raisonné. After the death of her father-in-law, N. C. Wyeth, she compiled and was editor of The Wyeths: The Letters of N. C. Wyeth, 1901-1945, a book that spurred a reassessment of his career. In 1976 she published the first book on her husband’s work, Wyeth at Kuerners, followed by Christina’s World in 1982. She also worked with a young group of filmmakers to produce the award-winning documentary, Andrew Wyeth Self Portrait: Snow Hill, in 1995.

Betsy and Andrew Wyeth founded the Wyeth Endowment for American Art, the precursor to the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, in 1968. It is now the third largest funder of exhibitions, publications and fellowships devoted to the study of American Art. Through its generosity were made possible major projects such as the research for, and publication of N. C. Wyeth: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings.

In the late 1960s, Betsy was a powerful force behind the creation of the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She encouraged George A. “Frolic” Weymouth, one of the founders of the Brandywine Conservancy in 1969, to purchase, renovate and transform a 19th-century gristmill along the Brandywine River into an art museum, and promised to lend works by all three generations of Wyeth artists—N. C., Andrew and Jamie, and other family artists such as Carolyn and Henriette Wyeth, Peter Hurd and John McCoy. The Museum opened to much success in 1971 and has since become internationally recognized for its collection of American art, most notably by the Wyeth family. Over the years, Andrew and Betsy Wyeth would donate many important paintings both to the Brandywine and the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. Following Andrew Wyeth’s death in 2009, Betsy generously gifted her husband’s studio to the Brandywine River Museum of Art. Now a National Historic Landmark, the Andrew Wyeth Studio is open to the public seasonally for tours.

In addition to managing the business side of Andrew Wyeth’s career, Betsy had a passion for historic houses and architecture. With her keen eye and talent for design, Betsy exceled at restoring old buildings, including an old mill complex on the Brandywine River that she converted into the couple’s Pennsylvania home and studio. She was continually drawn to the Maine coast, where she and Andrew had spent much of their childhoods, and over decades they bought three islands—Southern, Allen and Benner. To Betsy, these islands served as a blank canvas where she could realize her creative potential and her dedication to preserving historic New England architecture. Her carefully curated interiors and groupings of buildings are depicted in many of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings and watercolors and were featured in magazines such as Architectural Digest.

A muse for her husband, Betsy is represented in several works by Andrew Wyeth, sometimes embodied only by a highly personal object or setting that reminded her husband of her presence. A candid and astute partner, Betsy played an important role in his career. As Andrew Wyeth commented in 1966 to his biographer, Richard Meryman, “Betsy galvanized me at the time I needed it,” adding "She’s made me into a painter that I would not have been otherwise. . . . she made me see more clearly what I wanted."

Along with her interests in architecture and design, Betsy was an avid collector of art, especially of folk art, and she was highly knowledgeable on Pennsylvania antiques. She was also heavily involved in the two communities in which she lived. Betsy was a founding member of the Chadds Ford Historical Society, inspired the creation of the Island Institute in Maine, and financed the launch of its Island Journal publication. In 1987 Betsy Wyeth founded Up East Incorporated, which supports environmental and ecological research, preservation and education in mid-coast Maine. Through her work with Up East Inc., Allen Island has transformed into a living learning laboratory and working waterfront. In partnership with Colby College, students and researchers now study ecology, chemistry, and cultural geography on the island.

Betsy James Wyeth is survived by her sons, Nicholas Wyeth and his wife, Lee, of Elkton, MD and Cushing, ME, and James “Jamie” Browning Wyeth, of Wilmington, DE and Tenants Harbor, ME; her granddaughter, Victoria Browning Wyeth, of Philadelphia, PA; as well as several nieces and nephews including Amy Cook Morey of the Wyeth Study Center in Rockland, ME.

As soon as it re-opens to the public, the Brandywine River Museum of Art is planning to honor the life of Betsy Wyeth with a memorial tribute of 18 Andrew Wyeth works, depicting his wife and muse, created over the decades.










Today's News

April 22, 2020

A museum devoted to survivors now faces its own fight to live

Driscoll Babcock Galleries announces the death of Dr. John Driscoll

Russia's Hermitage museum calls for state support

Jenny Holzer releases new benefit edition celebrating 50th anniversary of Earth Day

The Brandywine mourns the loss of Betsy James Wyeth

Morphy Auctions to roll out premium-grade automobilia/petroliana, May 13-14

Metro Pictures online exhibition brings together three artists who incorporate historical sculpture into their practices

Can fashion save itself?

Bonhams Australia launches first live auction behind closed doors

Shannon's announces highlights included in its online-only spring fine art auction

Two classic cars and two classic trucks will be auctioned by H&H Classics

Chertsey antique dealer backs healthcare worker mum with NHS charity auction

Free film on Royal Academy exhibition to be broadcast on Facebook

Desert X Board launches artist emergency relief initiative

Special digital preview screening and Q&A event for award-winning film White Riot

Creative Folkestone Triennial 2020 postponed until September 2021

University Archives auction features rare books, relics, manuscripts and more

Museum of Vancouver is working to document the collective history of the City in a time of self-isolation

Bass therapy gets Romans dancing and laughing in face of lockdown

DC to resume sales of some new comic books

Award-winning artist Amar Kanwar joins scholars in a public virtual roundtable

Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan, lost and found jazz stars, are both gone

Football shirt exhibition goes online

Choosing the right content to post on Instagram

Some Of The Important 'Interior Designing' Questions Answered




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful