ROCKLAND – On Saturday, the Farnsworth Art Museum opens two major exhibitions at the museum’s Wyeth Center: “N.C. Wyeth: Poems of American Patriotism” and “The Wyeths’ Wyeths.”
The openings will be celebrated with a Live at Night at the Farnsworth party at the Wyeth Center on Friday with a members-only preview and reception from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a free public party from 7 to 8 p.m.
“N.C. Wyeth: Poems of American Patriotism” will run through Sept. 26, and “The Wyeths’ Wyeths” will run through December.
The N.C. Wyeth exhibition focuses on the illustrator’s commissioned series of 17 works to illustrate Brander Matthews’ 1922 book “Poems of American Patriotism,” published in New York by Charles Scribner’s Sons. The volume included some of the country’s best-known verses on iconic episodes in American history, such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “Grandmother’s Story of Bunker Hill Battle,” John Greenleaf Whittier’s “Barbara Frietchie” and Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” among others.
With his sense of the dramatic moment and technique, Wyeth captured these episodes in the large-scale oil paintings he did as models for the book illustrations. In 1923, the paintings were donated to The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., which has loaned them to the Farnsworth.
“The Wyeths’ Wyeths” focuses on the art that the three generations of painters — Andrew and Jamie in addition to N.C. — have given to members of their family.
Their art has been shown in museums and galleries, but this show shines a light on the private family collection of Wyeth works. Pieces range from the most public to the most private, and include major paintings, intimate sketches, Christmas cards, notes and letters.
In association with these exhibitions, the Strand Theatre in Rockland will host a lecture by scholar Henry Adams titled “Andrew Wyeth, King Vidor, and the Big Parade” at 6 p.m. July 12.