New Calendar Art Exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum


This morning Ellen and I visited the Brandywine River Museum in Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania, one of my favorite museums. It’s a treasure house of American illustration art and the work of the Wyeth family, as well as a beautiful building with lovely views of the river.


Their new exhibit running from now until May 18th is “A Date with Art: The Business of Illustrated Calendars.” There are several calendar paintings by one of my favorite artists, Maxfield Parrish, this one from an Edison Mazda Calendar. It had glass over it, so there are reflections. Needless to say, my photos don’t do justice to any of the paintings, you have to go see them for yourself!


Detail showing the crackling of the varnish on this shirt. Parrish worked in layers of translucent color with layers of varnish between layers of color to produce an amazingly rich color palette. This area did not hold up so well over time.


Another Parrish for Edison Mazda of Prometheus.


Prometheus detail.


Parrish girls in a garden.


A Parrish landscape, “Sunup.”

“Sunup” detail. Parrish built models of the houses in these landscapes and lit them for accuracy.


Inches away you can barely see the tiny brush strokes on this tree.


The first of three Norman Rockwell Boy Scout calendar paintings, and the one I liked best. Terrific warm lighting.


Detail from above.


Second Rockwell, the overhead spot was too close, picking out shine on the brush strokes.


Third Rockwell, also very good.


The largest number of paintings in the exhibit are by N.C. Wyeth, not a surprise as the museum specializes in his work. Indeed, his studio is part of the museum, though in a different building. This is “The Alchemist.”


Detail from above.


“The Golden Galleon” by N.C. Wyeth.


“Time and Tide” by Wyeth, I think my favorite of his in the exhibit. Fabulous lighting and perspective effects.


Detail from above.


Another detail from “Time and Tide.”


About half the Calendar exhibit is devoted to twelve N.C. Wyeth paintings from one calendar illustrating American History. The paintings are small for Wyeth, but there are some fine ones, and I’ve never seen any of them. The exhibit includes Wyeth’s easel and work table, and many props and photographic slides on glass he used in his work.


Marquette by Wyeth from the calendar.


Pioneers on the prairie by Wyeth.


Washington at Yorktown by Wyeth.


We also enjoyed the remaining galleries featuring the work of Andrew, N.C. and other members of the Wyeth family as well as other illustrators and fine artists. Here are a few N.C. Wyeth favorites. I think I’ve seen them all before, most are on permanent display. This is the painting for the endpapers of “Treasure Island.” Many of the paintings he did for that book are there.


From “The Boy’s King Arthur” by N.C. Wyeth.


An example of his magazine illustration work intended for black and white reproduction, and painted in gray tones.


One of two paintings for a magazine article, “The Snow Highway.”

We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit and the museum and can’t recommend it highly enough!


One thought on “New Calendar Art Exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum

  1. Jerry Ordway

    Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing these with us, Todd! Seeing these make me wish I was better at visiting exhibits myself.

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