WEM is a catalyst for creative action. We provide transformative experiences through the preservation of and public engagement with the Esherick campus, art collection, and archive.
The Wharton Esherick Museum is the home and studio of famed American artist Wharton Esherick, located atop Valley Forge Mountain in Chester County, Pennsylvania. 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. Two years later Esherick began his 1928 Expressionist garage, now our Visitor Center. 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.
Esherick’s 1956 Workshop, designed in collaboration with Louis Kahn, is also a part of our campus and a treasured piece of our landmark status. Additionally, Sunekrest, the 19th-century farmhouse where the Eshericks first lived on Valley Forge Mountain, was reacquired in 2014, the Museum is currently in the early stages of a campus planning process to explore how the farmhouse can be incorporated into the Museum experience.
The most recent addition to our campus is the Diamond Rock Schoolhouse. A Chester County landmark, this historic octagonal one-room schoolhouse located at the base of Diamond Rock Hill was an early painting studio for Esherick and is open to the public during select summer events.
The Wharton Esherick Museum is a proud member of the Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios.
About Wharton Esherick
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. He pursued his artistic vision in forms that might turn to furniture or other sculptural furnishings. More importantly, these were but one aspect of his art complemented by the paintings, prints, drawings, poetry, and sculpture he also created.