Andrew Wyeth's granddaughter organizes major exhibit of his work

Bates College senior Victoria Wyeth has organized “Andrew Wyeth: Her Room,” the first curated exhibition by his only grandchild, as the capstone of the Bates College Museum of Art’s 2000-01 season. The exhibition, with guided tours offered by Victoria Wyeth on weekends, runs from Nov. 10, 2000, through March 30, 2001. The public is invited to attend the opening reception at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in the museum’s upper gallery free of charge.

The exhibition was organized through the museum’s internship program in collaboration with the Bates Department of Art. The youngest Wyeth has developed an in-depth study of Andrew Wyeth’s working process used in creating egg tempera paintings. The exhibition will feature “Her Room,” the first Wyeth painting acquired by the Farnsworth Art Museum of Rockland in 1964. Also shown for the first time will be 15 preparatory studies for this painting from Andrew and Betsy Wyeth’s personal collection, now on deposit at the Wyeth Center, also at the Farnsworth. The exhibition will be accompanied by Victoria Wyeth’s own photographs of her grandfather.

The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to understand the artist. “In addition to learning about my grandfather’s art, I want people, particularly children, to see him as a person, to see how he worked through his ideas and understand the laborious process of tempera painting,” says Victoria Wyeth, an American cultural studies major from Cushing, Maine. Victoria is the daughter of Nicholas Wyeth, who is business manager for his father, Andrew.

Also for the first time, visitors will have an opportunity to learn how this painting was created. The preparatory studies offer a step-by-step look at Andrew Wyeth’s working process, showing the progression from his first rudimentary pencil drawings to detailed explorations in watercolor. After resolving every compositional detail, Andrew Wyeth began painting the final work in tempera, a slow, stroke-by-stroke painting process.

Since arriving at Bates, Victoria Wyeth has considered children’s education a top priority, serving as a volunteer at Pettengill and Farwell elementary schools in Lewiston. “The exhibition is really for children. I wanted to develop a way to raise funds in support of the museum’s education programs for children. So with MBNA’s support, we produced a catalog and poster, the proceeds of which will financially assist the museum,” she says. “The authors Thomas Hoving and Richard Meryman also helped to make this a wonderful catalog.” Victoria Wyeth will write the catalog’s introduction. A poster illustrating a watercolor study of “Her Room” is also available. All proceeds from the catalog and poster will be used to support the Bates College Museum of Art’s community educational programs.

Andrew Wyeth received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Bates College in 1987 for his important contributions to American painting. The exhibition will be accompanied by a 48-page color catalog with essays by nationally renowned Wyeth scholars Thomas Hoving, retired director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and author of “Andrew Wyeth: Autobiography” (Bulfinch, 1995), and Richard Meryman, author of “Andrew Wyeth: a Secret Life” (Harperperennial, 1998). Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World,” on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, is currently on display at the Farnsworth through the end of the year.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of MBNA, Camden, Maine.

The museum is located in the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St. Newly expanded museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. The galleries are closed major holidays and during the installation of exhibitions. Admission is free. Group tours may be scheduled by calling 207 786-6158 or this Or visit the museum on the Web here.

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