Wharton Esherick Museum – Malvern, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

Malvern, Pennsylvania

Wharton Esherick Museum

The home and studio of a visionary woodworker now stands as a museum and example of his artistic genius. 

Wharton Esherick was a unique sculptor who worked not in clay, but in wood, making pieces of furniture and architectural flourishes that embodied a flowing, natural spirit that he extended to his actual living and working space that is now a museum to his singular aesthetic. 

Esherick built his secluded house and studio over a span of 40 years starting in 1926. Nestled in a secluded Pennsylvania wood, the space became not only a place for him to dream up his naturalistic designs, but also a canvas on which to build them. Across the years, Esherick added to the house and its furnishings by creating pieces and details that reflected the style he was working in, ranging from his rough Arts & Crafts roots to the later Modernist smoothness that he would come to be known for. The exterior of the house reflects his changing styles as well, looking like a bit of a mish-mash of styles and materials mixing stone with wood.

Apart from his studio / home, Esherick built a handful of other structures on the site including a garage and a workshop. These ancillary buildings were also built to be singular works of artistry in their own rights, but many of them have been converted to new uses and are no longer associated with the main house.

Visitors can now visit Esherick’s former house for a tour through his singular space, getting an unvarnished glimpse into the varnished brain of a sculptural innovator.