Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wilder Pictures: Wharton Esherick House

While I was in PA for Christmas I visited the Wharton Esherick Museum, the studio where Wharton Esherick, artist and sculptor, lived and worked. Esherick carved every detail of the interior building, down to the railing along the staircase (and the staircase itself), out of wood. Each aspect is thoroughly thought-out, from the angle of the drawers in his dresser to the height of the bed so he could see out the windows perfectly as he lay there. His personal life seemed a bit fraught, even though our tour guide, a lovely, knowledgable, older gentleman, did his best to make the man into a myth. I'd really like to read a biography of Wharton--his involvement in Philadelphia society was extensive, and I think he had several lovers while his wife lived in the farmhouse down the hill from his studio. Soap-opera-city (more after the jump).

Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside the house, but check out the museum's website to see it. At first I wasn't sure how much I liked Esherick's work, but after I spent some time taking it in, I became more and more drawn to it. It has a magnetic quality, it's visually interesting, and it's engaging. His wood-block etchings are beautiful as well.

The multicolored tower was the last installment of the studio Esherick built. The color comes from pigment mixed into the actual cement, it's not painted on. The house has no straight lines, either, which I thought was pretty cool--notice the roof is tilted, and the line of the wooden tower slants down to meet the ground. Esherick thought straight lines were boring.

Another building on Esherick's land that the architect Lou Khan helped design (fun fact: Lou Khan's mistress of many years lives on the island at the mouth of Rockport Harbor that you can see from my family's house).

The only German Expressionist outhouse I've ever seen.

The compound from below the hill.

A postcard of the bedroom.

Dining room.

The man himself.

Love this print for a play.


  1. Hello! My first visit, will visit you again. Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed your posts. Congrats for your work. If you wish to follow back that would be great I'm at
    Thanks for sharing!
    Happy New Year!

  2. Thank you, Nelson!! I hope you do. I'm thrilled you liked it :)


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