Yesterday we had the chance to visit N.C. Wyeth's studio. He built his home and studio in Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania using the proceeds from the success of his illustrations for Treasure Island, which was published in 1911.
The studio has a large north-facing Palladian window, as well as an even larger greenhouse window on a wing of the studio added later to accommodate his mural commissions.
This historic photo shows the studio in Wyeth's time. It was kept intact fortunately, so all the props, costumes, and references are still there.
There are ship models, death masks of Lincoln and Beethoven (his favorite composer), a gun collection, horse ecorches, an authentic birchbark canoe, a native American drum, a skull with a bowler hat, saddles, and a lantern slide projector, which he used for projecting up his preliminary drawings.
His large handheld palette, kept intact from the day from the day he died, seemed to contain (as near as I could tell from looking at it): white, cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow deep, yellow ochre, raw sienna, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, Venetian red, burnt sienna, raw umber, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, viridian green, and black.
This drawing by a teenage Andrew Wyeth shows N.C. at work, with the light conditioned by drapes dangled from the window.
The studio wasn't electrified until 1923, so until then he could only work by daylight. Once they brought in power, Wyeth installed a state-of-the-art artificial lighting system of twelve 200-watt light bulbs, most of which are still working.
That was before the light bulb manufacturers came up with their most lucrative innovation: planned obsolescence.
The studio can be visited in spring, summer, and fall by guided tour from the Brandywine River Museum in Chadd's Ford, PA. Information and more photos.
Thanks, Jason, Jane, and Gail