To step inside the Wharton Esherick Museum is to step inside Esherick's unbelievably creative and imaginative mind. Everywhere you turn there's a sculpture, woodcut, painting or piece of furniture that tells a story, and gives the house a tangible soul. You can't help but smile at the quirkiness, and step away wishing that you had gotten the chance to know the artist personally, because he must have been an amazing guy.
Esherick was born in Philadelphia in 1887 and migrated out to my hometown of Paoli, Pennsylvania in 1913 after attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He began as a painter, but realized what he really enjoyed about painting was creating intricately carved wooden frames for his work. This led to woodcuts, which led to furniture making and eventually sculpture. His home, completed in 1926, is really a tribute to woodwork, and his masterful pieces fill each room, from his immaculately designed armoires and work desks which don't contain any right angles whatsoever, to his two sets of spiral staircases - one leading to his bedroom, the other to his simple and beautifully rustic kitchen. This house is truly inspiring, and epitomizes the word unique.
Enjoy a few exclusive photos from inside the house turned museum below, and definitely stop by if you're ever in the area. If you'd like to visit the museum, call 610-644-5822 to make a reservation.
The living area
The head and arms of a dancer, taking a bow
Some of Esherick's woodcuts to the left, and an amazing work desk, one of his first pieces of furniture. On top of the desk sit the sculptures Offense and Defense.
Smaller sculptures on the windowsill
A self portrait
A sculpture entitled, Her, one of my favorites in the house along with plates depicting his daughter Mary
Hanging pots in the kitchen
Two sets of spiral staircases, the larger of which was displayed at The World's Fair in New York in 1940
The sitting area in Esherick's bedroom
A kitchen storage unit he designed
The workshop, built in 1956, is now home to his daughter and her husband