Thursday, January 22, 2009

Remembering: Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)

If you could rewrite the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses" for artists in Delaware and Pennsylvania, it is likely you would say, "Keeping up with the Wyeths." Often considered America's most famous artists, Andrew Wyeth, died in his sleep at his home in Chadds Ford last Friday, January 16th. He died after a brief illness at the age of 91, and was surrounded by his family.

There's much to say about Andrew Wyeth, the son of internationally renowned painter and illustrator N.C. Wyeth. I could sit and tell you of all the record he broke at his exhibitions ( Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006 drew 177,000 visitors in 15 1/2 weeks, the highest-ever attendance at the museum for a living artist), the number of Museum which hold his works (The Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the National Gallery of Art), and his awards (He received the COngressional Gold Medal in 1990. Most recently, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2007.), but that wouldn't even begin to detail the degree to what Andrew and his works mean to his followers.

Andrew broke boundaries. There is no denying his talent, but his paintings were haunting, which made them all the more intriguing. Whether is was "Christina's World" or the "The Witching Hour", you could feel the moment and are often left wondering, "what is really happening here?" In 1950 at a time when abstraction was the theme, he went the other direction. A closet-showman, he never dabbled in the celebrity-ness of the artworld in New York.

With all of the articles and all of the great commentary, I'm almost compelled to create my own "due" to Andrew Wyeth. But so many others, including himself, have described him and his work to a T.

I read an interesting quote of Wyeth's this morning in an article about his work and winter.

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.”

So many of his works reflect this preference, so it is almost comforting to know that he passed on one of the coldest days of the year thus far.
As you can tell below, he's inspired us and has left us with works to treasure forever, and he wasn't ever too far away.

"I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious."- Andrew Wyeth

“He was a painter of emotions -- to hilt,” said Richard Meryman, author of “Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life.”

"I think one's art goes as far and deep as one's love goes." - Andrew Wyeth

"What you have to do is break all the rules." - Andrew Wyeth

"For the people he paints wear their noses in the usual place, and the weathered barns and bare-limbed trees in his starkly simple landscapes are more real than reality."- Reporter

1 comment:

xonk said...

A great PBS show aired in the 80's highlighting the Wyeth family with interviews from the entire family including his relationship with Andrew. Excellent production. I hope one day they release it to DVD.

"The Grand Old Painter Died Last Night
His Paintings On The Wall"
--P. McCartney