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A Visit to the Wharton Esherick Museum

I am not one who likes to let go of summer easily so my post for this month is of a visit I took this summer to the Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern, PA. Wharton Esherick was a local artist, born in Philadelphia, who started his career studying painting at what is now the University of the Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1920 he began carving frames for his paintings which led to work with woodblock prints. Though his prints may be recognizable, what Esherick became most well known for was his wood sculptures and furniture.

All throughout Esherick House, the house he spent forty years working on as he lived there, you can see furniture he built and sculptures he created filling every nook and cranny. There was no space left wasted or unused. (In fact, some of my pictures are taken at weird angles because it was so hard to get a good shot in such a tight space - especially with other visitors walking around!) Esherick was very interested in furniture that was not only beautiful but very utilitarian. His cabinets, drawers and bookcases, while attractive in design, were also thoughtfully made. For example, he added lights inside a cabinet that doubled as a desk that would turn on when certain drawers were pulled out. The bed he slept in had drawers underneath for extra storage, just like the sofas he designed.

I enjoyed learning about Esherick and his work as, admittedly, I didn't really know anything about him before this trip. We even got to see inside Esherick's studio (the blue building next to the house) and got to meet his son-in-law, architect Mansfield Bascom, who still lives there today. If you get a chance to visit this local treasure, and national historic landmark, I would highly recommend it!

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