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Now on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, a memorial exhibition celebrating the life of Phyllis Mills Wyeth (November 13, 1940–January 14, 2019) features a selection of portraits created by her husband, artist Jamie Wyeth. From the late 1960s onward, Phyllis Wyeth served as a muse to her spouse and these intimate works capture moments from her life across the decades of their marriage. On view through May 5, 2019, Phyllis Mills Wyeth: A Celebration includes works in a variety of media by Jamie Wyeth that reflect Phyllis’ vibrant spirit and love of nature, horses, and her ever-present dogs.
Phyllis Mills Wyeth: A Celebration features 28 paintings and drawings, ranging from the Jamie Wyeth’s first portrait of her (Phyllis Mills, 1967)—depicted outdoors and covered in fallen leaves—to more recent work, such as the lushly painted Overslept (2018). Jamie Wyeth captured the many facets of his wife’s remarkable life, including several works that attest to her accomplishments in carriage driving, such as Into the Gorge (1975) and Connemara (1984), and to her success as a Thoroughbred horse breeder and owner, most notably in Winner’s Circle, Belmont Stakes (2012), celebrating the win of her champion horse Union Rags at that illustrious race in 2012. Paintings such as Catching Pollen (2012), Stealing Holly from the Irénées (2016), and Southern Light (1994), attest to Phyllis Wyeth’s love of nature and the distinctive landscapes surrounding her at home near Chadds Ford and in Maine. Also on view are a selection of intimate domestic scenes, painted as Christmas gifts from her husband, and depicting her beloved dogs.
A catalogue organized by the Brandywine will accompany the exhibition (late-February 2019). Phyllis Mills Wyeth: A Celebration will travel to the Farnsworth Art Museum (Rockland, Maine) and the Greenville County Museum of Art (Greenville, South Carolina) following its presentation at the Brandywine.
Phyllis Wyeth was a member of the Brandywine’s first board of trustees in the late 1960s. Throughout ensuing decades, she was a major supporter of the organization. In addition to her work with the Brandywine she was a noted philanthropist, conservationist, environmentalist, arts supporter, accomplished horsewoman and a staunch advocate for the rights of the disabled.