Inspired by Nature: Wyeth and Ruskin in Unique Exhibition

Born almost exactly 100 years apart, the American painter, Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009) and the British critic and amateur artist, John Ruskin (1819–1900) are united by an obsession for the close observation and rendering of the world around them.

The youngest in a family of five children, Wyeth was encouraged by his father, renowned illustrator, N.C. Wyeth, to develop his eye for detail. Similarly encouraged to draw from nature, John Ruskin was an only child from a middle-class family. As a respected art critic, he became the spokesperson for art of the modern era in Britain and the champion of the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Through May 27, 2018, the Delaware Art Museum will be hosting a joint exhibition of their work, “Eye on Nature: Andrew Wyeth and John Ruskin.” The show examines their varying approaches to interpreting the natural world and marks the first time the two have been shown together.

“Mountain Rock and Alpine Rose,” 1844 (or 1849). John Ruskin (1819 – 1900). Pencil, ink, chalk, watercolor and gouache, 11 3/4 x 16 1/4 inches. Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, Lancaster University)
“Frozen Seaweed,” not dated. John Ruskin (1819-1900). Pencil, ink, ink wash, watercolor and gouache, 8 7/16 x 5 3/4 inches. Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, Lancaster University)
“Bluebell Leaves (Campanula),” c.1861-63. John Ruskin (1819 – 1900). Pencil, brown ink, watercolor and gouache on blue paper, 7 3/4 x 6 1/8 inches. Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, Lancaster University)
“Aiguille Charmoz, Chamonix,” 1849. John Ruskin (1819 – 1900). Pencil, ink and watercolor, 11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches. Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, Lancaster University)
“Trees in a Lane, perhaps at Ambleside,” 1847. John Ruskin (1819 – 1900). Pencil, black and brown ink, and ink wash, 17 5/8 x 22 5/8 inches. Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, Lancaster University)
“Ravine at Maglans,” c. 1849. John Ruskin (1819 – 1900). Pencil, black and brown ink and gouache, 11 x 8 3/8 inches. Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, Lancaster University)
“Sycamore Tree, Study for Pennsylvania Landscape,” 1941 Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). Ink and watercolor, 29 3/4 x 39 3/8 inches. Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Phelps, 1964. © 2018 Andrew Wyeth/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
“Blackberry Branch, Study for Blackberry Pickers,” 1943. Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). Drybrush. The Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection. © 2018 Andrew Wyeth/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
“Buttonwood Leaf,” 1981. Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). Drybrush. The Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection. © 2018 Andrew Wyeth/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
“Sticks,” 1980. Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). Watercolor. The Andrew and Betsy Wyeth. Collection. © 2018 Andrew Wyeth/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

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