Almost an hour after the doors opened on the reception launching Jamie Wyeth's show at Meredith Long & Company, the artist arrived at the gallery to a flock of adoring fans. All charm amid the fawning crush, he signed autographs. He posed for photos. And he chatted and chatted and chatted.
The big schmooze took place in the front salon of the River Oaks gallery where some two dozen of the artist's works, priced from $90,000 to $650,000, lined the walls. This was Wyeth's second solo exhibition at Meredith Long, the first having taken place more than 25 years ago. The works in watercolor and in oils, some serious, some whimsical, will be on view through Nov. 30. At least one watercolor landscape in the show strongly echoed the talents of Wyeth's famed father, Andrew Wyeth.
"We had been talking about it for several years," Long said on Thursday before the gallery began to fill. "The show itself has been cooking for eight or nine months."
Long explained that two summers ago, he and his wife, Cornelia Long, had been in Maine for the annual lobster bash at the home of Paige Rense, Architectural Digest editor emeritus, and her husband, artist Kenneth Noland. From there, they visited Wyeth and his wife, Phyllis, on the private island where they summer. And the plan for a solo exhibition in Houston was hatched.
Helping make that a reality was New York dealer Warren Adelson, with whom Long regularly collaborates. He and his wife, Jan Adelson, traveled with Wyeth to Houston and were on hand for the opening.
In the lead among those greeting Wyeth at the gallery was long-time friend Lynn Wyatt. They immediately embraced, shared air kisses and then launched into a nostalgic conversation about holidays in Monte Carlo when Wyeth, Andy Warhol, his business manager Fred Hughes and other notables partied at the villa where Lynn and Oscar Wyatt summered.
Nina Wickman, Nancy and Lucian Morrison, Sally Avery, Patty Hubbard, Katie Cullen and Carolyn Farb were among Wyeth fans admiring the paintings.
None seemed to mind the artist's late arrival. That was due in part to the side trip Wyeth and the Adelsons made to the Menil Collection. It was their first stop straight from the airport.
Following the show's opening reception, the Longs and daughter Martha Long hosted Wyeth, the Adelsons and a small group for dinner in their River Oaks home.