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Life in a Museum

Produced by Karen Smyles

June 2011

Wharton Esherick was born July 15th, 1887 along with a twin sister, in the front bedroom of a limestone twin house at 3629 Locust Street in West Philadelphia. Early in life he developed an interest in art and it is said that he was constantly sketching and would draw on any form of paper available. He grew up in Philadelphia and studied drawing and printmaking at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. This was all against the wishes of his father, a prosperous merchant, who believed Wharton would never make a dime as an artist. Although it wasn't always an easy road, Wharton was successful. He worked in various art forms producing works in painting, sculpture, woodcarving, furniture, and set design. Much of his work was produced in his studio/residence located in Chester County Pennsylvania. Esherick moved there in 1913 with his new bride, Letty, to escape the city and to lead a more organic life. Today you can visit that studio and residence and experience the depth of his work. The building has been left almost exactly as it was when he died in 1970. Wharton Esherick's daughter, Ruth and her husband, Bob, still live on the property in an adjacent home.

To Schedule a Tour:
All visits to the Wharton Esherick Studio are available by reservation only.
Please call 610-644-5822 to book your guided tour and to get directions.

The artists son-in-law, Mansfield Bascom recently wrote a biography of Wharton Esherick, filled with beautiful photographs of his life and work. To obtain a copy, visit the museum store.