N.C. Wyeth was one of America's most famous illustrators and produced paintings for many books. With the proceeds from his illustrations for Treasure Island he purchased 18 acres in 1911 and built this house and studio. After he and his wife passed away, his daughter Carolyn lived here until her death in 1994, after which the property became a museum. Very little has been changed, the furniture and furnishings are as they were when the house was lived in apart from rearranging on occasion.
This is the last painting N.C. Wyeth was working on before his death in 10945, a tragic accident in which his car, carrying him and his grandson Nathaniel, was hit by a freight train while they were crossing the rail line in Chadds Ford. Both were killed.
The shuttle took us back to the museum where we then started looking at the galleries on three floors.
I liked a lot of N.C. Wyeth's paintings, and even recognized a few from books I'd read in younger years. He had a wonderful ability to capture light well in his art. I've included my favorites of his below.
" And Lawless, keeping a half-step in front of his companion and holding his head forward like a hunting-dog upon the scent,...studied out their path."
And then we came across some paintings by his grandson, Jamie, who is very good at painting animals.
"When I first met Den-Den at the Ball farm Den-Den had the run of the place. One day I was working, and Bill said the cattle had gotten out and asked could I help him put them in. So I left what I was working on. I went down and an hour later I came back up the hill when I heard snorting. I thought, 'Oh my God, the pig has gotten into where I am painting.' Of course it was just right open. So I started yelling as I ran up the hill. Den-Den stuck her head around the corner, and her whole snout was covered with cerulean blue, cadmium orange and lemon yellow. She had eaten some twenty-two tubes of oil paint. I thought, 'That is the end of her.' Oil paint is highly toxic. It can kill a dog just like that. I thought, 'That's curtains for this pig.'
"And the next day I arrived in the morning expecting to find a corpse. She was perfectly fine, walking around snorting away, and of course all these rainbow colored droppings were everywhere, and Bill kept saying, 'What in the hell is wrong with my pig?' I didn't tell him, I was terrified. Months later they were sending her to the butcher. I thought, 'Oh my God, I can't have that.' By consuming and surviving twenty-two tubes of paint, she had endeared herself to me. So I took her to our farm at Point Lookout. 'Portrait of a Pig' was painted at Point Lookout."
I was so taken with this delightful tale and had an exact image in my mind of how dear old Den-Den must have looked when she peered round the corner at Jamie and so I got to work in Photoshop and came up with the image below. I'm going to hang this in my kitchen!