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Unique Force: The Art of Carolyn Wyeth at the Brandywine River Museum

CHADDS FORD, PA.- The Brandywine River Museum presents Unique Force: The Art of Carolyn Wyeth, featuring over 40 paintings and drawings that relate to all aspects of her career. It also includes many fascinating portraits of her by family members, including her brother, Andrew Wyeth. On view from January 24 to March 15, this is the first exhibition of her work in 30 years.

Carolyn Wyeth (1909-1994), painter and daughter of the illustrator N. C. Wyeth, grew up in a family of artists. She was known for her feisty, no-nonsense demeanor, yet this hard edge veiled a sensitive soul. Her paintings appear very straightforward and bold yet reveal intensely personal perspectives and perceptions.

As with her father, N.C. Wyeth, and especially her brother Andrew, Carolyn's life and art drew sustenance from her immediate surroundings and memories. Her paintings reconstruct private moments from the past and often evoke an air of romance, remembrance and loss. Her subjects are often her immediate surroundings, such as a chair, a pumpkin, props from the studio, or the woods and fields near her home. She usually produced only three or four paintings per year, did little to promote her work, and exhibited infrequently. Until late in life, she did not even always sign her paintings.

Carolyn Wyeth began her artistic training with her father at the age of 12. N.C. Wyeth gave his children solid grounding in drawing, insisting that charcoal studies of cubes, pyramids, and plaster casts be mastered before touching a brush. However, as the family rebel and non-conformer, Carolyn balked at N.C.'s rules and expectations, and painted as she pleased. As she matured, his advice to know and feel subjects deeply and to put that experience in her work became her guiding principal.

By her early 20s, Carolyn Wyeth found her own mode of expression and won exhibition awards and accolades. In the early 1940s, she began to teach painting both in Chadds Ford and, during summers, in Maine. She taught for over 30 years, and her devoted students included her nephew Jamie Wyeth.

Carolyn Wyeth lived out her days at the family home and studio in Chadds Ford. It was there that she found both inspiration for her art and the solitude she sought to create it. Ultimately, she cared nothing about innovation or competition in the world of art. Painting soothed her "wild" side and gave coherence to her emotions. The aesthetic qualities - strength of design, boldness of color, and subtle emotional tenor - in her paintings have been nationally recognized by critics and museums. Carolyn Wyeth's unique works are a vital part of the Wyeth family and of art history in the Brandywine Valley.

Unique Force: the Art of Carolyn Wyeth is on view at the Brandywine River Museum from January 24 to March 15, 2009.

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