READING, PA.- The Reading Public Museum
announced that now through the end of August 2014, it will display N. C. Wyeths Pyles Barn, an exceptional oil on canvas from 1917 by the renowned Brandywine Valley artist and illustrator. The painting is on loan from the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania as part of an exchange with the institution. The Reading Public Museums own N. C. Wyeth, Buttonwood Farm, 1920, will be on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art through August 10, featured in a temporary exhibition titled Lure of the Brandywine: A Story of Land Conservation and Artistic Inspiration.
The inspiration for this painting came about when N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945) and his wife, Carolyn, rented property in Chadds Ford that included Pyles Barn. The structure, located on the south side of the main road through Chadds Ford (now U.S. Route 1) just east of the village, became one of Wyeth's favorite motifs, even after the family moved to another property in 1911. He painted the barn at least six times, in daylight and moonlight, using a variety of impressionistic styles. In the painting, he laid down small strokes of unmixed color, taking advantage of the eye's tendency to blend colors. The technique was derived from Wyeths study of the work of the Swiss-Italian artist Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899), whose paintings he admired greatly.
Rumors in 1918 that the old barn would be torn down prompted Wyeth to construct a replica of it from packing crates as a Christmas present for his nine-year-old daughter, Carolyn. The toy barn still can be seen in the N. C. Wyeth studio, which is open to the public through the Brandywine River Museum of Art.
By 1927, the deteriorating barn was owned by the Pyle family of Chadds Ford (unrelated to Howard Pyle), hence the name Pyles barn. In 1936, the barns foundation was moved to make way for a widening of U.S. Route 1. A modern building, incorporating aspects of barn architecture, now includes some of the original stone foundation.