It’s funny how we can have all sorts of amazing cultural places not far from where we live – museums, gardens, historic landmarks – and we tell ourselves “I need to check that place out some time.” And then the years go by, and you’ve yet to check it out!
I can say I don’t typically let years go by, but in this case Wharton Esherick studio was one of those places I’d not visited. It wasn’t until last fall that I finally discovered him. The eccentric studio and little homestead of this lesser known artist, sculptor, and craftsman is a hidden gem, filled with an array of art in several mediums (mostly wood). How can one go wrong visiting a place where he outhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places? I love architecture, and while I’m not fully privy or educated formally around it, to me it’s what is pleasing and amazing to the eye and the knowledge of the feat and engineering required to build it.
Wharton Esherick (1887 – 1970), was a Philadelphia native, the studio/museum not far from where I now live. He began his career as a painter, built his studio, moved on to carving frames for his paintings, and then on to woodcut prints and finally, sculpture and furniture. He is considered a pioneer in the 20th century for his organic harmonizing style, mostly wood, and today his influence can be seen within the “Studio Craft movement.” His actual studio evolved over forty years, and is considered his biggest “piece” of artwork. Having visited twice now, I can say I’d never ever tire of popping in a couple times a year.
You can also check out his super interesting bio here.