Seventy works by three generations of Wyeths might sound like a dream show, but it’s real.
Sponsored by The Bank of America Art in Our Communities Program, it’s an exhibition of paintings and illustrations by N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth that’s slated to open July 25 at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Va..
It’s a blockbuster show from this much-admired family of artists. “All were tremendous realist painters, and each was very different,” says curator Diana Blanchard-Gross. “They used tempura and watercolor, and all had the common theme of a narrative within their artwork.”
None were trained formally, but schooled instead at home in the Brandywine region of Delaware. “They were trained by each other – Andrew learned from N.C. and it was the same with Jamie,” she says. “They taught all their relatives.”
Part of the exhibition’s value lies in its potential to inspire visitors to seek their own family traditions and shared values across generations. “These artists took one from another and didn’t deviate that much in style or color palette,” she says. “They draw you in so you discover your own narrative within the composition, and that leaves room to see the work and be part of it too.”
The Wyeths connect both with those who favor the contemporary and those who lean toward tradition. “These pieces will resonate with a lot of different viewers, especially because of the region, the farmscape and the waterfront,” she says. “A couple deal with a military presence that’s relevant in Hampton Roads – they’ll resonate with our community.”
PFAC is planning special precautions for COVID 19 – including thermometers for taking temperatures, constant cleaning of interiors, signs for safe distancing, and stanchions to guide viewers through galleries.
When and how the exhibition opens remains a question. “We hope to have it on view until Oct. 4, but it’s at the discretion of the governor as far as how long will it be open,” she says. “We’re not sure yet if it will open on July 25 – we want to, but we’re trying to be flexible.”
That leaves the virtual option. Sure, an online exhibition isn’t ideal – but who’s going to turn down the chance to view 70 works by three generations of Wyeths, all at once?
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