ANDREW WYETH PAINTINGS FOR SALE & BIOGRAPHY
"Andrew Wyeth was the youngest of the five children of Newell Convers Wyeth. He suffered from a nervous temperament as a child, and was taught at home by his father and a series of tutors, from 1923 to 1929. He never travelled to Europe, and did not attend art school. He became a member of the American Watercolor Society in 1940, and was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1950. He lived and worked in his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
"His paintings are solidly traditionalist, inspired almost exclusively by the life and landscapes of Pennsylvania, where he spent his winters at Chadds Ford, and his summers at his home in Cushing, Maine. His somewhat desolate landscapes are depicted from often unexpected angles, and feature self-consciously nostalgic or lonely figures. A series of paintings executed from 1948 to 1979 chronicles the Kuerner family of Pennsylvania, and the Olsons of Maine, in over 200 canvases. The pictures show the families going about their daily lives. Other images suggest the silence and vast expanses of the American landscape, touched by small signs of life such as the tracks of a bird, or a figure walking in the fields. A second series, executed from 1971 to 1985, features nude studies of his model Helga Testorf. Shown in public for the first time in 1986, the entire series was bought by a private collector. His minute attention to detail is quasi-photographic in intent, while critics have described him as a proponent of Magic Realism in painting. His pictures are characterised by their extreme realism, and their capacity to capture the essence of a particular moment, such as the muted rumble of an approaching storm.
"In the 1960s the critic Michel Ragon commented on the striking fact that Wyeth—an academic figurative painter some 15 years younger than more radical, high-profile figures such as the Abstract Expressionists Rothko or De Kooning—was America’s most expensive painter. Other critics have attributed his success to the American public’s taste for ‘popular quality’ painting, expressing the moral and intellectual values of a particular way of life often pilloried by the modern artistic and critical élite. In the context of American art history, he can be seen as the exponent of a continuing, strongly influential Realist tendency that first appeared in the early years of the 20th century. He was an adolescent when the American Scene painters Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood enjoyed their critical and popular heyday. His own work furthers their tradition. Like them, he stated that he wanted to ‘show America what America is like’. And, like them, he enjoyed huge popularity.
"He received numerous awards, distinctions, and honorary degrees in recognition of his contribution to American art, including: from the Philadelphia Museum (1959); from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1960); the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from John F. Kennedy (1962); and from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1965)" (Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Gründ, 2006).
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY