Topic: “The Life and Work of Andrew Wyeth“
Location: President’s Hall, The Penn Stater
Introduction / Moderator: Rodney Erickson / Katie O’Toole
Victoria Browning Wyeth, the only grandchild of iconic artist Andrew Wyeth, is the daughter of Nicholas and Jane Wyeth. Her father is a private art dealer, and her mother is an art advisor who was trained as an art historian. Ms. Wyeth is the great-granddaughter of illustrator N.C. Wyeth and the niece of contemporary realist Jamie Wyeth.
A 1997 graduate of the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York, Ms. Wyeth earned a B.A. in American Cultural Studies in 2001 from Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine. During her senior year there, she organized and curated her first museum exhibition. The exhibition, at the Bates College Museum of Art and titled Andrew Wyeth: Her Room, demonstrated, from initial preparatory sketches to the final 1963 tempera Her Room, how the artist made a painting. The catalogue’s introductory essays were written by Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and by author Richard Meryman.
Ms. Wyeth studied the history of psychology as a visiting graduate student at Harvard University before earning a Master of Arts degree in psychology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. The emphasis of her study was on both clinical psychology and the history of clinical psychiatry. Following her academic studies, she worked for several years as a therapist at a Pennsylvania state psychiatric hospital, where she currently works part-time as a research assistant for a clinical psychiatrist.
A docent of Wyeth art since the summer after her sophomore year in high school, Ms. Wyeth began giving gallery talks at the Farnsworth Art Museum, near her parents’ summer home in Maine, when she was 16. From 2004 till 2011, Ms. Wyeth conducted gallery talks twice a day, five days a week, at the Brandywine River Museum, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
Ms. Wyeth intersperses her discussions of subject matter and technique with quotes to her from the artists. To her personal memories and family stories, she adds insights gained through years of conversations with her grandfather and her uncle about their work, making Ms. Wyeth’s talks unique.
The subject of numerous articles in the press, Ms. Wyeth continues to lecture extensively throughout the United States and abroad. Her early morning gallery talks during the Andrew Wyeth retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art were consistently sold-out, and her PowerPoint lectures to private organizations, college alumni groups, and museums are frequently standing room only. She often gives private tours and has done so for Smithsonian Journeys and for former President of Poland Lech Walesa, among others.
For her 10th college reunion in June, 2011, Ms. Wyeth curated Andrew and Jamie Wyeth: Selections from the Private Collection of Victoria Browning Wyeth for the Bates College Museum of Art.
Ms. Wyeth is a gifted photographer; the Philadelphia Museum of Art used her photographs of her grandfather for publicity purposes for their 2006 retrospective, Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic. Moreover, her photographs of the artist were exhibited in conjunction with his shows at the Bates College Museum of Art, in Lewiston, Maine (2000-2001), the Mississippi Museum of Art, in Jackson, Miss. (2001), the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta (2005-2006), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2006).