The Wharton Esherick Museum is the home and studio of famed American artist Wharton Esherick, located atop Valley Forge Mountain in Chester County, Pennsylvania USA.
Set on 12 wooded acres, the Museum campus is comprised of multiple buildings including Wharton Esherick’s Studio, which is now the centerpiece of the Museum. Esherick’s highly individual, hand-built Studio was constructed over a 40-year period beginning in 1926, incorporating Arts and Crafts, Expressionist, and organic designs. In 1973, just one year after its official opening as a museum, the Studio was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1993, the Museum was designated a National Historic Landmark for Architecture.
Wharton Esherick (1887 – 1970) was an internationally significant figure in the landscape of art history and American modern design. As a sculptor, Esherick worked primarily in wood and extended his unique forms to furniture, furnishings, interiors, buildings, and more. His motto, “If it isn’t fun, it isn’t worth doing,” is evident in the joyful expression of his work. Now recognized as a leader of the Studio Furniture Movement, Esherick saw himself as an artist, not a craftsman, and his concern was with form, not technique.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Esherick studied drawing and printmaking at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. At the height of American Impressionism he and his wife, Letty, joined the flight of painters from the city to the countryside. They settled in an old farmhouse near semi-rural Paoli – with enough level land to grow their own food in the event the paintings didn’t sell.