Dog are touted as man's best friend and wonderful companions. For artist Jamie Wyeth, they have also been exciting models. When young, he repeatedly depicted the family dog, Eloise, recording her in many ways.He says, "I did endless drawings of her, lots of them, from a puppy on up. That was my first real involvement with a dog." His interest in dogs has been continuous from that time.
From June 9 to September 3, 2007, the Brandywine River Museum presents Dog Days of Summer: works by Jamie Wyeth, an exhibition of nearly 60 paintings and drawings of dogs by Wyeth.
Most, but not all, works in the exhibition depict Wyeth's pets. Wyeth remarks, "...my interest in dogs, using them in paintings, is just that they are easy models. They are around me."
This availability and familiarity allows Wyeth to create images with the same intensity, depth of personality, and meticulous detail that define his portraits of people. Although some are mildly humorous, they are not intended to illustrate amusing canine antics, but rather to record dogs doing what dogs do.
Created over the past four decades, the paintings and drawings reveal evolutionary changes in Wyeth's technique.
In recent years he has shifted away from using only brushes, often preferring to use his fingers, sticks, or pieces of cloth to create works composed of a several mediums. Wyeth says, "the thing I call 'combined mediums' is faster, and working with an animal you want to work pretty rapidly." He does not find any particular medium best suited for painting dogs and uses a wild range of materials, including charcoal, watercolor, and oil to depict his subjects.
The exhibition is drawn primarily from private collections The works display his fascination with dogs, but they also offer - through preliminary studies, final images, and thematic variations - the opportunity to see how a painting develops.
An illustrated exhibition catalogue, titled Dog Days by Jamie Wyeth, offers the artist's personal comments and stories regarding his dog paintings.
The catalogue, a newlyreleased reproduction, and other items related to this exhibition are available for purchase in the Brandywine River Museum Shop and online at www.brandwinemuseumshop.org.
The exhibition, Dog Day of Summer: Works by Jamie Wyeth, is supported by the Davenport Family Foundation Fund for Exhibitions. The catalogue is supported by the Davenport Family Foundation.
This summer, two educational workshops at the Brandywine River Museum will focus on works appearing in the exhibition. The first, "Colorful Canines" on July 17, is part of the museum's Advanced Explorer Mornings for children ages 10 to 14.
The second workshop, on July 19, is titles "Dog Days of Summer" and is part of Museum Explorer Mornings for children ages 3 to 10 accompanied by an adult. Both workshops are free with regular museum admission, but pre-registration is required. to register, contact the Education Office at 610-388- 8382 or email@example.com.
Located on U.S. Route 1 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the Brandywine River Museum is open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Christmas Day. Admisson is $8 for adults; $5 for seniors ages 65 and over, students with I.D., and children; and free for children under six and Brandywine Conservancy members.
For more information call 610-3880-2700 or visit: www.brandywinemuseum.org.