French photographer Joséphine Douet is inspired by the same Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania landscapes and people that inspired American painter Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009). The Secret Sits, an exhibition of Douet’s photographs of the rural region that Wyeth made his oeuvre, is augmented with his watercolors, on loan from Adelson Galleries. For this exhibition, Douet has selected eight of the painter's drawings and watercolors to pair with photographs in The Secret Sits series. Some of these comparisons are direct, as in a portrait of the same sitter, years later. With others, she was drawn to an aesthetic synergy she felt when looking at the Wyeth’s and her images together. Douet first undertook The Secret Sits project as a commission from the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which was organizing a retrospective of the work of Andrew Wyeth and his son Jamie in 2016. Douet’s admiration for Wyeth dated back to her childhood, so she was eager to travel across an ocean to immerse herself in Wyeth’s hometown, which she found in harmony with her own place of origin, Normandy, and where she would source much of his material.
The title The Secret Sits comes from a two-line poem by Robert Frost ─ “We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.” Taking a journey through Chadds Ford, a photographer in a painter’s footsteps, Douet felt the place unchanged. She spoke to some of the people who had known Wyeth, as she sought the secret of the Wyeth’s sensibility: “I have constructed close and profound relations with the people of Chadds Ford and also with Andrew Wyeth’s former models, sharing amazing moments with Helga, his secret muse for fifteen years.” Viewing Wyeth’s scenes through her camera’s lens gave Douet insight to Wyeth and helped her find a new touch in her own photographs.