BRM frolicking in Weymouth art

The Way Back, 1963, tempera on panel, 44 3/4 x 34 3/4” McCoy duPont Weymouth. © George A. Weymouth

The Brandywine River Museum of Art has assembled a comprehensive collection of “Frolic” Weymouth’s paintings and artwork in its newest exhibit which runs now through June 3.

The artwork by George A. “Frolic” Weymouth, noted conservationist, horseman and artist in southern Chester County who died in 2016, spans decades and includes portraits as well as landscapes featuring his beloved Chadds Ford.

“This exhibit gives a full sense of his work,” said the museum’s Audrey Lewis, who helped coordinate and install “The Way Back: The Paintings of George A. Weymouth.”

The exhibit is curated by guest curator Joseph J. Rishel, curator emeritus of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It displays a breadth of paintings and sketches from Weymouth’s earliest images to his last sketch, completed the year he died.

Weymouth was one of the founders of and the longtime chairman of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art, whose art career had its roots in his childhood.

George A. 'Frolic' Weymouth, conservationist, horseman and artist died in 2016. The exhibit of his art is on display at the Brandywine River Museum of Art through June 3.

According to a press release, Weymouth “extended and burnished what is known as the Brandywine School of artists through his moody, detailed landscapes, and also made insightful portraits of family and friends that reveal both the appearance and psychology of his subjects.”

Many of the pieces show how Weymouth was influenced by his friend, Andrew Wyeth.

“He was the one who recommended Frolic take up tempera,” Lewis said.

The earliest work on display is a 1948 oil painting titled “Chicken Fight,” completed when the artist was 12.

“It has this spontaneity,” Lewis said. The painting was gifted to the museum by Weymouth’s son McCoy (“Mac”) in 2017.

Weymouth’s portrait style was influenced by the people he saw, according to Lewis. On display are paintings and accompanying pencil sketches of Eugene Eleuthere du Pont, portraits of former-Gov. William W. Scranton and Henry Belin du Pont Jr. and the Earl of Westmorland, among others.

A 2011 portrait titled “Melanie in Repose” features one of his favorite dogs on a settee.

“The portrait style here is the same as it was for his friends,” Lewis said.

Both the portraits and the landscapes capture emotions through the brushes of watercolor or egg tempera.

A portrait titled “Gathering Storm” features Ethel Roach, the Weymouth family housekeeper and a frequent subject of Weymouth’s, gazing out a window. It was painted in 1964 when the civil rights movement in the country was in its early stages. One is left to wonder whether the portrait’s title refers to the storm outside or to the fight for civil rights throughout the country.

Gathering Storm, 1964, tempera on panel, 23 ¾ x 22”
Patricia W. Hobbs. © George A. Weymouth

“This is a fantastic drawing,” Lewis said of the accompanying pencil-on-paper “Study for Gathering Storm.” “You can see how he transformed her.”

According to the informational panel for the portrait and sketch, “The drawing seen nearby, one of numerous studies for the image, reflects Weymouth’s working process as he experimented with slight variations in the sitter’s folded arms, face and gaze.”

His landscapes evoke the different seasons and emotions, especially the ones showing winter and storms, which Lewis said were his favorites.

The 2004 tempera-on-panel piece titled “Storm” shows a lone plant against a storm-darkened sky, evoking the drama of the scene, Lewis said.

“Weymouth reveled in every aspect of storms, finding excitement in the light effects before, during, and afterward,” according to the information panel next to the landscape.

Another landscape, the 2010 tempera-on-panel “Rogue Wave,” captures the blowing snow against a barn.

Weymouth’s last tempera, “Swelter,” features the sun beating down on a field. “You really feel the sun and that overwhelming heat,” Lewis said. “The sun and tree together really create a sense of movement.”

If You Go

What: “The Way Back: The Paintings of George A. Weymouth”
When: Now through June 3
Time: The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Christmas and Thanksgiving days.
Cost: $18 for adults; $15 for seniors (65-plus); $6 for students and children 6-plus; and free for children under 5 and museum members.
More information: 610-388-2700
On the Web:

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About Monica Fragale

Monica Thompson Fragale is a freelance reporter who spent her life dreaming of being in the newspaper business. That dream came true after college when she started working at The Kennett Paper and, years later The Reporter newspaper in Lansdale and other dailies. She turned to non-profit work after her first daughter was born and spent the next 13 years in that field. But while you can take the girl out of journalism, you can’t take journalism out of the girl. Offers to freelance sparked the writing bug again started her fingers happily tapping away on the keyboard. Monica lives with her husband and two children in Kennett Square.



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