Esherick's Overall Work

Photo Tour of Museum

Regional Influences

Esherick's Life, 1887-1970

Contacting or Visting Museum

Author and Photo Credits

A Web Feature by Hoag Levins
Wharton Esherick Main Header

Dean of American Craftsmen

Photos: (left) The world-famous spiral oak staircase in Esherick's studio in Paoli, Pennsylvania; (center) Esherick at work shortly before his death; (right) Esherick's sculpture "Twin Twist" in the lobby of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts' Peale House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In the decade before he died in 1970 at the age of 83, Wharton Esherick of Paoli, Pennsylvania, was heralded by the national art and design community as the "Dean of American Craftsmen." It was an accolade not previously bestowed on an American artist and an indication of the unique nature of Esherick's work and influence. Ironically, much of his career was spent in relative isolation; a lone artisan pursuing his own vision of high-art craftsmanship during a period when hand craftsmanship was generally held in low regard by American culture. Ultimately, Esherick's work helped lead to the renaissance of the 1960s that re-established hand craftsmanship as the popular and highly-valued activity it is today.

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