When we think about paintings of farms, we neighbors of the Brandywine Valley often summon images of the so-called “barn painters.” And we often consider their work cliché, mere imitations of the pioneering Andrew Wyeth. That’s unfortunate, for there are a lot of fine painters in the region and a lot of fine work. Who can blame them for being attracted to subject matter as picturesque as farms?
So let’s expand our horizons a bit, both thematically and personally. Starting Saturday, the Brandywine River Museum will present “Farm Work by Jamie Wyeth,” which reviews nearly 50 years of his farm images.
Yes, you will see Wyeth’s famous life-sized “Portrait of a Pig,” Den-Den, a neighbor in Chadds Ford, which he painted as a young man. But you will also see other animals, equipment, buildings, and landscapes from local farms and others, including the Olson farm in Maine, made famous by his father.
“I always said that if born in New York, I would be painting cabs or something, but it happens that I was raised in an area where there were farms,” Wyeth has said. “There are wonderful objects on the farm and things about farm life, so that is where the attraction is.”
Many of his paintings were made at the Point Lookout farm on the Brandywine, where Wyeth lived beginning in the late 1960s. They include portraits of chickens, geese, goats, cattle, horses and wild birds. Wyeth was also intrigued by the forms of everyday farm sights such as barns and implements such as saws, buckets and hay bales. His images of them all reveal Wyeth’s technique and, often, his wit.
“Farm Work by Jamie Wyeth” is the first exhibition to focus solely on this subject. It includes over 70 works. See it until September 11. The Brandywine River Museum is on U.S. 1 in Chadds Ford, Pa. For more, call (610) 388-2700, or visit brandywinemuseum.org.
Hurry, hurry! Tonight and tomorrow (June 7-8), four of OperaDelaware’s best vocalists will perform “Opera Pops…And Sizzles!” presented by Clear Space Theatre Company. The singers, accompanied by OperaDelaware music director Jeffrey Miller, will perform a series of arias, duets and ensemble numbers from such classics as “Carmen,” “La Boheme” and “The Merry Widow.” Performances start at 7 p.m. at the Clear Space Theatre, 20 Baltimore Ave. in Rehoboth Beach. Tickets are $15 to $25. Buy online at ClearSpaceTheatre.org, call 227-2270, or visit the box office.
Art lovers and people who just plain love to party look forward to Beebe Medical Foundation’s Annual Best of the Beach Art Auction each year. This year, Saturday is the big night. It is, without a doubt, one of the finest galas in Sussex. The fundraiser rallies the community behind the Beebe Medical Center and the esteemed Rehoboth Art League. Attendees eat, drink and dance while bidding on works by the best artists in the area. Painter Barbara Petterson will be the featured artist in this year’s live auction. Her acrylic “Reflection” (pictured) shows a small boat docked in the Lewes Harbor. Barbara is known for her use of bright, crisp colors and rich textures. There also will be the traditional silent auction of art and gift items. Catering this year is by Big Fish Grill, music by Love Seed Mama Jump, which turns 20 this summer. (We’re getting old, people.) The 22nd Annual Best of the Beach Art Auction and Dinner Dance will begin at 6 p.m. under a tent at the Beebe Health Campus on Del. 24 in Rehoboth Beach. For tickets, call 644-2900, or visit beebemedicalfoundation.org.
A Robin’s Song
How many ways can one spin “Robin Hood?” We’ve seen “First Knight,” “Men in Tights” and a zillion others, but never a musical—until Media Theatre took on a new adaptation. Meet Robin, Little John, the mischievous Friar Tuck, fair Maid Marian and the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham. This one is for the kids. See it through July 30. The Media Theatre for the Performing Arts is at 104 E. State St., Media, Pa. Call (610) 891-0100, or visit mediatheatre.org.