Wharton Esherick Wood Exhibit
Now through September 1
Mondays through Fridays
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Gallery at Penn State Great Valley
Wharton Esherick (1887–1970) lived to create. He was trained as an illustrator and painter, but his interests expanded to set design, sculpture, furniture and architecture He found his true voice in sculpture, working primarily in local woods he gathered from the forest surrounding his home and studio in Paoli. The spiritual father of the contemporary studio furniture movement in America, he pioneered the way for successive generations of woodworking artists to develop their original designs.
In the decade before he died in 1970 at the age of 83, Esherick was heralded by the national art and design community as the "Dean of American Craftsmen." It was an accolade not previously bestowed on an American artist and an indication of the unique nature of Esherick's work and influence. Ironically, much of his career was spent working in relative isolation in Paoli- an artisan pursuing his own vision of high-art craftsmanship during a period when hand craftsmanship was generally held in low regard by American culture. Ultimately, Esherick's work helped lead to the renaissance of the 1960s that re-established hand craftsmanship as the popular and highly valued activity it is today and was the model for what we now know as the American Studio Craft Movement.
Visit The Gallery and view a collection of Esherick's original woodblocks and prints on loan from the Esherick Museum.