Friday, January 16, 2009

America's Painter Passes On

Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009)

The Finn, (1969)

The great American painter Andrew Wyeth passed away today at the age of 91. He died in the same place where he was born, Chadds Ford, PA. Andrew Wyeth has always been one of my favorite painters. In fact, I never gave painting much thought until my mother dragged me away from the neighborhood clubhouse one spectacular Summer afternoon around 1970, so that we could see the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. I was sullen and I grumbled about being hauled away from my friends, but I was captivated by Wyeth's work as soon as I saw it up close... I've been an aficionado ever since. In fact, we still keep the framed print of Christina's World that my mother bought that day in the upstairs hallway of our house even though Anne (and just about everbody else) thinks it's gloomy and depressing.

Pennsylvania Landscape, (1941)

He was the son of the reknowned illustrator N.C. Wyeth, and father of another fine artist and portrait-painter, Jamie Wyeth. Actually, I've always preferred the rough-and-ready themes and bold colors in N.C's work, even though N.C. couldn't hold a candle to his son in terms of talent. N.C.'s childhood home in Needham MA (which shows up in his illustration of Blind Old Pew in Treasure Island) is only a few miles from where we live. Jamie's work is very good too, but kind of edgy for me. Andrew's sister Henriette, I don't know much about.

The Sisters, (1990)

The year 2008 was a tough one in terms of losing several American icons. This year has started out with another great loss.


crystal said...

I looked up some of Jamie Wyeth's stuff - he did a portrait of Arnold :) and the Pumkinhead one - neat!

I like NC Wyeth best too because of the subjects he chose as an illustrator.

Jeff said...

I love the jack-o-lantern painting!

Have you ever seen Jamie's painting of JFK? It's amazing.

We were up in Camden Maine a couple of years ago and they have a lot of Jamie's work in a museum up there. Lots of paintings of Nureyev.

N.C. rocks! Student of Howard Pyle's and a fascinating character.

I was disappointed in a lot of the obits I read today. A lot of critics dissed Andrew Wyeth's style, as if he was Thomas Kinkade or something.

crystal said...

I hadn't seen any of his paintings until I saw your post, then looked him up. The JFK one is good. The Nureyev ones too.

cowboyangel said...

Yeah, this was too bad. Although, I have to admit, I thought he had already passed away!

I've always liked his work a lot, including Christina's World.

Also like N.C. Wyeth. I had never heard o Jamie.

Where is the JFK portrait? I read about it on Wikipedia, but when I went to a web site with his work, they didn't have it.

cowboyangel said...

Never mind - I looked up the JFK portrait.

Jeff said...

I have to admit, I thought he had already passed away!

Yeah, that happens now and then. There's a guy on a local radio station here who runs a "Who knew he was still alive?" program when something like that happens.