Wharton Esherick: An Artistic Legacy Through Necessity

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Wharton Esherick: An Artistic Legacy Through Necessity

January 14, 2020 - April 5, 2020

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Wharton Esherick (July 15, 1887-May 6, 1970) was a leading figure in the American Studio Crafts Movement which developed after 1945.  These artists used new techniques and non-traditional materials, embraced utilitarian aspects of craft, and produced unique art objects that fused abstract form with function.  

Wharton Esherick: An Artistic Legacy Through Necessity, explores the productive relationship between applied and fine arts within his work while placing the artist’s practice in conversation with recent alumni from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Wharton Esherick attended the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art and then studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1908 to 1910.  Following school, he had several painting exhibitions and worked various jobs as an illustrator.  In the 1920s, Esherick began to focus on sculpture, woodworking, and design in response to technological and economic changes, as well as his own changing artistic interests.  Maintaining his vision as an artist, Esherick considered his furniture to be works of art.

Featured Artists

  • Ben Jones (Cert. ‘12 ) – Weaving and Textiles
  • Marguerita Hagan (MFA ‘10) – Ceramics
  • Steven Dufala (Cert. ‘00) – Set Design
  • Thomas Pontone (MFA ’13) – Cement Furniture
  • Chelsea Kashan (BFA ’15, Cert. ’16) – Landscape Architecture Student


January 14, 2020
April 5, 2020
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Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
118-128 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA United States
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