Movement: Realism, Regionalism
Andrew Wyeth's Famous Artworks
“Christina’s World,” 1948
“A Crow Flew By,” 1950
“Trodden Weed,” 1951
“Distant Thunder,” 1961
“French Twist,” 1967
“Indian Summer” 1970
“Night Sleeper,” 1979
“The Clearing,” 1979
“Sunday Times,” 1987
“The Carry,” 2003
Andrew Wyeth was an American realist painter who grew to prominence in the late-1940s. He remained influential throughout his career, particularly for landscapes and portraiture in the Regionalist style, a Realist Modern Art movement that emerged in America during the early 20th century.
Andrew Wyeth's Artistic Upbringing
Andrew Newell Wyeth was born in the summer of 1917 to the painter and illustrator N.C. Wyeth and his wife Carolyn in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The Wyeths were devoted parents and the family spent a lot of time together reading, walking, and evolving a love for Nature, which was to later feature powerfully in Wyeth’s work. N.C.’s celebrity brought numerous artists and personalities into their home in the 1920s, and Wyeth later recalled the time as a fervently creative time for himself and his four siblings. During this period, Wyeth also discovered what he claimed was the greatest influence on his work: the movie “The Big Parade,” made by King Vidor in 1925.
Wyeth was sickly as a child and so, was tutored at home solely by his father. He began to draw while still quite young, and by the early 30s, had joined N.C. in the studio, training in techniques of painting and studying art history for his own interest.
Andrew Wyeth's Early Success and Tragedy
Wyeth had his first solo exhibition in 1937 at the Macbeth Gallery in New York, where he sold every painting. He met Betsy James in 1939 and married her the following year, when she also became his business manager, playing as important a role in his artistic life as his father had. In 1945, N.C. Wyeth and one of his grandsons were killed in a car accident: an incident that deeply affected Wyeth’s artistic journey. In the next few years, he painted some of the most iconic images in American art. His work has been exhibited at several galleries and museums
Andrew Wyeth's Art Style
Many of Wyeth’s subjects were people he knew or who lived close by. He was concerned not only with representing life around him as he saw it, but moreover, discovering a way through his art to reconcile deeper spiritual questions. For example, the Kuerner Farm in Chadds Ford was one of Wyeth’s most popular locations, and he painted scenes documenting the lives of his neighbors Anna and Karl Kuerner for over 50 years, from the 1930s onwards.
Similarly, Betsy had introduced Wyeth to Christina Olson, one of their neighbors in Maine where the Wyeths had their summer home. The Olson farm proved to be another creatively rich location for Wyeth and in 1948, he painted “Christina’s World,” one of the most enduring paintings in American art. It brought to the forefront the vividness of Wyeth’s landscapes and the peculiarity of his human subjects.
Siri Erickson was the model for several of his paintings
through the 1970s, and paintings like “The Virgin” and “Indian Summer” testify towards the intensity and delicacy of his artistic focus. Around the same time, in 1971, Wyeth began sketching and painting his neighbor Helga Testorf in secret. Wyeth stored these works at the home of a friend and student, and the series of over 240 works would only come to light 15 years later in 1986. The complete exhibition of these works, known as “The Helga Pictures” was as controversial as it was lauded, and the depth of attention paid by Wyeth as a painter to his model Testorf has often been remarked upon as possibly a singular circumstance in modern American art.
Wyeth’s work has always been deeply popular his viewers, and his exhibitions have set records with respect to attendance, but his work has invited critical controversy. As a representational artist, Wyeth’s work has been often commented upon as merely illustrative, formulaic, and sentimental in its content; particularly, when compared to more abstract art which gained a great deal of momentum in the mid-20th century. However, in many respects, Wyeth considered himself an abstractionist. Despite his realist depictions and the degree of detail in his painting, it also very strongly expresses mood, emotion, symbolism, and the abstraction of relationships between his subjects.
Andrew Wyeth's Death and Legacy
Despite disagreements about the content of his work, Wyeth’s skill as a painter has never been in the contest. His intimate rendering of landscapes and attention to detail are considered exemplary. Typically, Wyeth created numerous studies on a subject before beginning to paint, fusing in his work the concerns of not only an artistic nature but those of a craftsman as well. He died in January 2009 in Chadds Ford, leaving behind one of the most influential bodies of work in modern art. You can buy Andrew Wyeth's artworks online
Andrew Wyeth's Major Exhibitions
1937 - Macbeth Gallery, New York
1938 - Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, US
1939 - Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
1939 - Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, US
1939 - Delaware Art Center, Wilmington
1939 - Macbeth Gallery, New York
1948 - Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh
1948 - Macbeth Gallery, New York
1950 - Doll & Richards, Boston
1950 - Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
1950 - William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Rockland
1950 - Macbeth Gallery, New York
1951 - Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, US
1951 - Berlin Cultural Festival, Berlin
1966 - Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
1966 - Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore
1966 - Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1966 - Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
1980 - Royal Academy of Arts, London
1984 - Funabishi Gallery, Tokyo
1984 - Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford
1984 - Gallery Iida, Tokyo
1987 - Academy of the Arts of the USSR, Leningrad
1987 - Academy of the Arts of the USSR, Moscow
1987 - Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
1987 - Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas
1987 - Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago
1987 - Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit
1988 - William. A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Rockland
1988 - The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock
1988 - Seibu Pisa, Ltd. Tokyo
1988 - Setegaya Art Museum, Tokyo
1988 - Palazzo Reale, Milan
1988 - Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
1988 - National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
1988 - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1988 - Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1988 - Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
1988 - Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco
2000 - Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville
2000 - Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, US
2000 - Nara Prefectural Museum of Art, Nara
2003 - Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford
2003 - Farnsworth Museum, Rockland
2003 - Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville
2004 - Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Rockland Ericksons
2004 - Brandywine River Museum , Chadds Ford
2004 - William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Rockland
2006 - Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
2014 - National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Andrew Wyeth's Museums / Collections
Arts Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford
Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, US
Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
Books / Publications
“Art of Andrew Wyeth” by Wanda M. Corn
“Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth: A Conversation With Andrew Wyeth” by Thomas Hoving
“Andrew Wyeth: A Spoken Self-Portrait” by Richard Meryman
“Andrew Wyeth: America’s Painter” by Martha R. Severens and Ken Wilber
“Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life” by Richard Meryman
“Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic” by Anne Knutson and Kathleen Foster