As in so many of Wyeth's most successful watercolors, Brush Pile achieves a stark quality of emotional familiarity; a house and landscape that appear reminiscent to the viewer yet presented in a new light by the artist. Wyeth comments, "There are always new emotions in going back to something that I know very well." Wyeth goes on to say, "I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape--the loneliness of it--the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it--the whole story doesn't show." (as quoted in J. Wilmerding, Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1987, p. 182)
The present work depicts Brinton's Mill in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Originally built circa 1719 and remodeled in 1760 and again in 1824, the mill served as a center for Continental forces during the Revolutionary War and remained under the care of the Brinton family for three generations. The Mill and surrounding property were purchased by Andrew Wyeth and his wife, Betsy, in 1958. In 2001, the Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, exhibited over 40 works by Wyeth in an exhibition focused on this important subject in the artist's career, entitled Andrew Wyeth: His Mill.
This watercolor will be included in Betsy James Wyeth's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's works.