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Andrew Wyeth

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I grew up with art. My grandfather was a professional illustrator for magazines and other publications, and my mom worked in oils and won several judged shows during her life. I began drawing and painting at a young age, as did my brother. Also, there were always books containing photographs of famous works of art lying around our house, and as an avid reader, I loved pouring through these as a child. I even ended up marrying an artist!

I still love looking at paintings, sculptures, and other works. I suppose my favorite American artists are Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer. I love the clean lines and the subdued palette of Wyeth’s paintings, along with the simple subjects. I also find the light and shadow in his paintings amazing. Wyeth’s works have a powerful emotional quality that’s hard to explain.

Andrew Wyeth was born in 1917 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the son of a professional illustrator, N.C. Wyeth. Andrew wasn’t a healthy, robust child. He was often ill and had to miss school. When he suffered a bout of whooping cough, his parents decided to take him out of school and teach the boy themselves.

The Wyeths instructed young Andrew in all the normal subjects, plus art education. Even at a young age, Andrew showed artistic talent. He began with sketching and working with water colors, and later, he learned to paint with egg tempera. Wyeth often painted rural landscapes and portraits of people he knew, both in Pennsylvania and in the family summer home in Maine. He is considered a regionalist in style.

Andrew Wyeth had his first art show when he was only twenty years old. It was held at New York City’s Macbeth Gallery. Wyeth’s works were the only ones in the exhibition, and every painting was sold.

 

Christina's World

Christina's World

Christina’s World

 

Christina’s World

 

This is Wyeth’s most famous painting. Christina’s World was done in 1945 and depicts Christina Olson, the painter’s neighbor in Cushing, Maine. Christina was crippled by an illness and couldn’t walk, and she spent much of her time lying in the grassy fields of the farm that surrounded the family’s home. The Olson’s house can be seen in the background of the painting. It’s been restored and is now part of the FarnsworthArt Museum.

 

Roasted Chestnuts

Roasted Chestnuts

One thing I like so much about Wyeths's paintings is that I can make up narratives in my head about his subjects. With Roasted Chestnuts, for example, I imagine this teenage boy has gathered chestnuts from his farm and is roasting them in a metal drum by the roadside in order to earn some Christmas money.

Around the Corner

Around the Corner

Around the Corner

 

Around the Corner

 

This is one of my favorite Wyeth paintings. Around the Corner reminds me much of my grandmother’s home – a white clapboard farmhouse with flowers planted next to it. Notice how stark are the differences in the white of the house with the dark shadows.

 

Easterly

Easterly

Easterly

Easterly

 

I have an affinity for lighthouses, so it’s no surprise that Easterly is one of my favorite Wyeth paintings. Look at the detail – even the pickets in the white fence are painfully detailed. I also like the clouds, the shadows, and the rough texture of the lighthouse exterior.

 

I actually did an acrylic painting of this same lighthouse, but mine is from a different view. And of course, my painting is by no means comparable to Wyeth’s - except in subject matter!

Wind from the Sea

Wind from the Sea

Wind from the Sea

 

Wind from the Sea

 

I love Wind from the Sea. You can practically feel the ocean breeze coming off the water as it caresses the sheer curtains at the window. I can immerse myself in this painting so much that I can practically smell the salt air as I imagine myself in a rustic New England seaside cottage. A glimpse of the water can just be seen from the window.

andrew-wyeth

Wyeth's Death and His Legacy

In November of 2007, Andrew Wyeth received the Medal of the Arts from President George Bush. Sadly, just a little over a year later, Wyeth died. He was 91 years old.

During his lifetime, Wyeth was one of the most collected artists to ever have experienced such acclaim while they were still living. Although his paintings are often considered "too sentimental" by some art critics, the American public loved Wyeth's work. In fact, he's often referred to as the "Painter of the People."

I find it fascinating that a man with only a third grade formal education, no high school diploma, no formal art training, and no college could so mesmerize the art world and the public. His artistic genious transcends the norms for requirements of successful modern artists.

Wyeth's son, Jamie, is continuing the family legacy with his paintings. Jamie Wyeth's portrait of John F. Kennedy is one of the most famous ever painted of the former president.

Comments

Moral Man on July 05, 2020:

Andrew Wyeth made some of the most mesmerizing paintings in the 20th century. Most mesmerizing of all is Christina's World from 1948. It shows a young girl lying on a field overlooking a farmhouse in the distance.

If one has no knowledge of the background of this painting it appears tbat its a young girl sitting on a field, perhaps having a picnic. Such is not the case. The real story behind this painting is that this was an adult woman named Anna Christina Olson (1893-1968) who was afflicted with a crippling disease which made in impossible to walk. She refused a wheelchair and would move around by crawling. In this painting she is crawling to get to her farmhouse in the distance in Cushing, Maine. Andrew Wyeth was friends with her. The farmhouse is open to the public today and the scenery is almost the same today as it was in 1948.

ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on August 18, 2011:

I have seen Christina's World before but never knew the title or it's history.

I always wondered about it, thinking it was a girl perhaps runing away from home? Or maybe complitating her life?

It got me thinking.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on June 29, 2011:

Lucky Cowboy! Awesome!

cowboy on May 11, 2011:

Found the Book of all of his Prints, 13x17 prints in granny atic WOW! I have them all.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on February 02, 2011:

b4, great to see another Andrew Wyeth fan!

b4murray from Massachusetts on January 31, 2011:

I have "Christina's World" Hanging in my room.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on January 14, 2011:

Lula, sorry you don't like Andrew Wyeth. Why not?

Lula on January 13, 2011:

I didn't like it very much to be honest

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on November 19, 2010:

You're welcome!

nikitha p from India on November 12, 2010:

Thanks for a nice hub.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on October 26, 2010:

Thanks, Charles!

reversecharles from Houston, Texas on October 07, 2010:

Wonderful job you did, and I love the artwork.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on June 30, 2010:

Thanks, Val! I love the emotional aspect of Wyeth's works. They just speak to me somehow!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on June 30, 2010:

Paul, I'm sure it has worth, especially since Wyeth has passed away. I have no idea how much that worth might be, however. Sorry!

valeriebelew from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA on June 30, 2010:

Hello habee, this is such a wonderful hub. What do the critcs know? Art to me is about emotion. I love art and have frequented museums in Chicago, New orleans, and closer to home, Atlanta. I enhaled every word of this hub,and soaked in the paintings. Great work, and one of my favorites of yours. (:v

Paul Etzel on June 30, 2010:

I have a signed print done by Andrew Wyeth titled Oil Drum, I would like to know if this print has monetary worth. I haven't been able to find out anything aboout this print and would like to know more, can someone help me with this question.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on May 06, 2010:

Philly, I'll see if I can dig some up!

Phillyfreeze69 on May 05, 2010:

I guess I didn't read the first paragraph throughly...I would love to see some of your grandfathers work.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 21, 2010:

Thanks, Philly, but Wyeth isn't my grandfather!

Phillyfreeze69 on April 20, 2010:

Hi Habee,

Your grandfathers paintings are a American as apple pie. His nostalgic patina of nineteet-century rural imagery is classic. I especially Christina's World, the abstract qualities of light, time,form and space places his work at the pinnacle of American fine art. Thanks for sharing.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 19, 2010:

Yep, Katie - I love Wyeth's story!

Katie McMurray from Westerville on April 19, 2010:

habee, What an inspiring story. I love hearing about simple good hearted folks with HUGE Gifts and Talents who live their dream. This is a true artist and LOVE his work. I do beleive such talent is passed down the line. The pictures - the art just stunning and such character. This is a Rate Up and Must Read and SEE again... Peace:)

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 18, 2010:

Aleida, glad I'm not theonly one! lol

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 18, 2010:

Thanks, earthlover. You obviously know a lot about art!

aleida_77 from Los Angeles on April 18, 2010:

I absolutely agree. Wyeth's paintings almost beg you to make up your own narrative to accompany them. Beautiful hub, thanks.

earthlover on April 18, 2010:

These paintings are beautiful. 'Christina's World' is awesome! It seems to say so much - that farm building at the vanishing point cut off from the family house and its ancillaries, its shape inclining toward it, Christina looking toward the house, inclining toward it.

I'll be looking out for more of Andrew Wyeths work, and yours!

Great Hub!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 17, 2010:

mhuze, great to meet another Wyeth fan!

mhuze from USA on April 16, 2010:

Love, Love, LOVE, Andrew Wyeth!!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 16, 2010:

Hi, agvulpes! Isn't that painting amazing? I know exactly what you mean about its emotional quality!

Peter from Australia on April 15, 2010:

habee, being in Australia I was not familiar with Andrew Wyeth so I do so appreciate this Hub. Each painting I looked at working down the page I thought that is my favorite and then I reached Wind from the Sea and WOW it just took my breath away! There is just something about this painting I can't put my finger on so I will study it some more .

Thank you very much for the introduction to Andrew Wyeth :-)

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 14, 2010:

How wonderful, Gpage! I have Mom's paintings in my home, along with some of mine and hubby's. I also have a beautiful etching done by my grandfather. Thanks for reading and commenting!

GPAGE from California on April 14, 2010:

habee! How wonderful for you to celebrate this man's amazing talent! I love all of the paintings and they did provoke an emotional reaction which is a very good thing.....like you I grew up around artists....one on the canvas and another in entertainment and also a fantastic painter. I still hold my mothers and fathers paintings dear and they are displayed in my home....so is my paintings from my great Aunt Edna Hart from the South who had a style similar to the artist Rockwell and was known at that time for her war paintings.....thank you for this wonderful tribute! Best, G

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Thanks, Sord. I'll check it out!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Chris, thanks so much for the heads up!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Bpop, I used to be pretty interesting. Now I'm pretty boring!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Isn't that amazing, Pam?

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Sheila and HH, those curtains are pretty amazing, huh? They def make the painting!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

Johnny, I agree. Thanks for visiting!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2010:

You're welcome, Lily!

sord87 on April 12, 2010:

This is the first time i heard about Andrew wyeth,it seems those paintings was really showing something more than just oil art paintings,a second paintings article i read today,good, thank you for sharing!

https://hubpages.com/art/My-Friend-the-Artist-Dara...

Chris on April 12, 2010:

For those Andrew Wyeth fans who will be in upstate New York this summer, come to The Hyde Collection and see Andrew Wyeth: An American Legend featuring works on loan from The Farnsworth, The Whitney, The Hood, the Philadephia Museum of Art, and private collections.

breakfastpop on April 12, 2010:

Thanks for a wonderful look into the magnificent Andrew Wyeth. I love his work. Habee, you never cease to amaze me. You are such an incredibly interesting and talented woman.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 12, 2010:

Habee, I love the paintings and this was a great story of a man who didn't need more formal education because he was so gifted in other ways. Good hub.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 12, 2010:

He truly was a genius. Those painting aren't excellent but they say something. As for the painting 'Wind from the sea' how on earth did he do that lace curtain. UNBELIEVABLE. Thank you so very much for giving me that pleasure to see them.

sheila b. on April 11, 2010:

Wind from the sea has always been one of my favorite Wyeths because it seems impossible to paint those curtains!

kowality from Everywhere on April 11, 2010:

Interesting story. It is always a bonus when the child of someone extremely talented carries on the tradition. Jamie's paintings are also incredible. Thanks Habee.

Lily Rose from A Coast on April 11, 2010:

Nice stuff! I love art as well (my mom is a painter and my dad is just multi-talented at everything!), but I must admit that I have not heard of Andrew Wyeth. Thank you for this introduction...