“Phyllis Mills Wyeth: A Celebration” at the National Sporting Library & Museum
February 8, 2020 - January 3, 2021
A memorial exhibition celebrating the life of Phyllis Mills Wyeth (Nov. 13, 1940–Jan. 14, 2019) features a selection of portraits created by her husband, contemporary artist Jamie Wyeth. From the late 1960s, and throughout the decades of their marriage, Phyllis Wyeth was his muse. He created intimate works that capture moments from her life. “Phyllis Mills Wyeth: A Celebration” features 31 paintings and drawings and reflects Phyllis’ vibrant spirit and love of nature, horses, and her ever-present dogs.
The exhibition and accompanying catalogue were organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art (Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania), the first venue. It then traveled to the Farnsworth Art Museum (Rockland, Maine) and the Greenville County Museum of Art (Greenville, South Carolina), after which the National Sporting Library & Museum (Middleburg, Virginia) was added as a venue.
Wyeth’s local ties run deep. She was the younger sister of Middleburg resident Mimi Abel Smith, a board member of NSLM and a lifelong sporting enthusiast who hunted with Orange County as well. Abel Smith has fond memories of their life in Middleburg. They grew up outside of the village on Burnt Mill Farm next to Hickory Tree Farm, a renowned thoroughbred breeding, training, and racing facility founded by their parents, Mr. and Mrs. James P. Mills, Sr. “My sister loved to ride and jump horses and compete in point-to-points,” notes Abel Smith, “And she was very good at it.”
NSLM Executive Director Elizabeth von Hassell was a strong supporter of bringing “Phyllis Mills Wyeth: A Celebration” to the NSLM and notes, “The exhibition is an intimate tribute by one of the most recognized artists of our time to his wife, a loving testimony to their 50-year marriage, and the embodiment of Phyllis’s tenacious spirit. I can’t think of a more fitting location to celebrate Phyllis Wyeth’s sporting legacy.”
You can view the exhibit online or in-person.