York Native Charles Rudy’s Sculpture at Brandywine River Museum
1940s photo of The Letter
As I looked down a passage Sunday at the Brandywine River Museum, I gave a little gasp. There in front of me was Charles Rudy’s sculpture The Letter. I only knew it from photos that Rudy had deposited with the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives (then Historical Society of York County) years ago. Here it was, only an hour and a half from home.
The sculpture is of Lorraine Rudy, Charles’s wife. He captured her pensive mood after she had just read a letter.
As I mentioned in previous posts, Rudy was versatile. He created tiny to monumental sized sculptures, such as his Bronx Post Office Noah, in many different materials and styles. The Letter is one of his most recognized bronzes. According to various sources it won the Howe Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1947 and a gold medal from the National Sculpture Society.
There is a little bit of a mystery here:
The Letter today
When I was researching Charles Rudy a few of months ago, I couldn’t determine the current location of this sculpture. Some sources indicated that it had been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and that it was part of the Met’s permanent collection. I didn’t find any reference when I searched the Met’s database online. The label on its pedestal at the Brandywine River Museum says it is on loan from a private collection. It could have been deaccessioned by the Met or perhaps the articles I read were incorrect. The Brandywine River Museum is a very nice place to visit anyway, so take the pleasant drive down to Chadds Ford and see this very nice example of the work of one of those many York County natives that went on to fame and/or fortune.