Saturday, October 30, 2010

Inspiration in my Own Backyard

Well, not literally, but you know what I mean - we take for granted the sites in our local communities far too often. Case in point - the Wharton Esherick Museum in Paoli, PA - I live 10 minutes from this museum and I never made the time to visit it until my mother-in-law asked me to take her there - I did one better - I signed us up for a class on this world renowned wood sculptural artist with the local adult school night - - - I'm always gunning for the daughter-in-law of the year award but the competition is steep - my husband is one of 11 kids - 9 boys - lots of great sister-in-laws gunning for the same recognition.
The most important information on this sign is that you need reservations - no exceptions. Tours are given by very knowledgeable docents.

Photos are not allowed in the museum - sorry! Visit the website for a virtual tour of the museum - or better still - make a reservation and visit the museum for yourself. The grounds of the museum / studio are beautiful - a reflection of the Esherick style - designed by Louis Kahn. The original section of the house is the stone portion to the left on the photo below, with the wooden section and stucco section added later - I'll discuss the painting of this section later - it's interesting. Notice the whimsical lines used throughout, especially the use of curves.
This was the original studio, notice the curve to the roof; and, notice the punctuation of color. The base of the house curves out like a tree trunk. Esherick loved color - plum was his favorite. Most of Esherick's wooden sculptures were natural wood, but he carved a horse which he insisted had to be painted (it's blue now but has been painted many colors) because a brown horse is too common.
Here are two other buildings on the property - the blue on the left is a studio that was added for more space (now inhabited by his daughter as her home) and the log structure on the right is the visitors center. Esherick started his career as a painter, but was recognized more for his carved frames than his paintings. He quickly moved more toward the expressionistic sculpture realm, focusing on wooden sculpture of a very organic nature. He also experimented in German expressionism. There is so much to see in the museum it will take a few visits to see it all.
Look at how beautiful a chimney can be - twisting and curving. You see this in his sculpture as well.
Again - the spots of color throughout the property.
This is another look at his studio - there are windows on one side of this structure - the blue hues are sky-like next to the verdigrised copper roof.
Notice the corners of the building - they represent the dove tail joinery seen in his wooden furniture. Esherick was born in 1887 and died in 1970 - a little bit of laundry line gossip - afterall, we are in my backyard - - - he was a nudist - yup - a nudist.
This shot was taken from the deck off the back of the museum - look at the color accents and the angled awning over the windows.
This is a view of the stucco turret from the back of the structure. I love this photo. The stucco was painted in this camouflage coloration to mimic the surrounding trees during the autumn -it was a perfect day to visit since the trees were the same colors as the turret. I love the shadowed branch on the turret.
This little guy here was a ceramic piece Esherick did - it's Winnie the Pooh a la Esherick.
In addition to sculpture, Esherick was an accomplished wood cut artist - this is a poster he created for the Hedgerow Theater in Rose Valley, PA. He and his family were patrons of this theater - both his wife and mistress were associated with the theater, as well as his daughters.
It was a beautiful day for a visit to the museum - if you have the opportunity to visit I strongly recommend it - if not be certain to do the virtual tour. Textile hint - look for the needlepoint in the bedroom - it was designed by Esherick and stitched by a neighbor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Esherick also carved the table that is found in the green room at Hedgerow Theatre, Rose Valley. Absolutely beautiful piece of furniture. francie m

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