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Old 16-01-09, 03:41 PM
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JeffG JeffG is offline
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Default Andrew Wyeth 1917-2009

From USAToday:

Andrew Wyeth, one of the USA's most acclaimed artists, died this morning at the age of 91, according to The News Journal. “Andy Wyeth died in his sleep peacefully at 4:25 today,” Phyllis Wyeth, his daughter-in-law, tells the paper.

In 2007, President Bush presented a National Medal of the Arts to Wyeth in recognition of "a lifetime of paintings whose meticulous realism have captured the American consciousness, and whose austere vision has displayed the depth and dignity of American life."
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Old 16-01-09, 08:09 PM
AlexGarcia AlexGarcia is offline
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Truly sad news. I just read about it too. One of my all time favorite and most inspiring artists. RIP.
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Old 17-01-09, 06:07 AM
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jpohl jpohl is offline
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I just heard a little while ago. I've spent many hours looking at Wyeth work in the last year and there is great soul in it. It goes without saying that his critics that are being cited today came out of an age when authenticity and craftsmanship were not in vogue. The same critics glorified soup can labels and irony for irony's sake.

His images and inspiration will be with us forever.

This was in Canada's Globe and Mail (it was too long to post the whole article here):


“The world has lost one of the greatest artists of all time,” George A. Weymouth, a friend of Wyeth's who is chairman of the board of the Brandywine Conservancy, said in a statement.

In this Feb. 23, 1964, file photo, artist Andrew Wyeth stands in front of his farm in Chadds Ford, Pa. Wyeth has died at the age of 91 at his home outside Philadelphia according to Hillary Holland, a spokeswoman for the Brandywine River Museum. (Associated Press)

A Wyeth retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006 drew more than 175,000 visitors in 151/2 weeks, the highest-ever attendance at the museum for a living artist. The Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, a converted 19th-century grist mill, includes hundreds of works by three generations of Wyeths.

It was in Maine that Wyeth found the subject for Christina's World, his best-known painting. And it was in Pennsylvania that he met Helga Testorf, a neighbour in his native Chadds Ford who became the subject of the intimate portraits that brought him millions of dollars and a wave of public attention in 1986.

The Helga paintings, many of them full-figure nudes, came with a whiff of scandal: Wyeth said he had not even told his wife, Betsy, about the more than 200 paintings and sketches until he had completed them in 1985.
Wyeth's world was as limited in scale, and as rich in associations, as Christina's World, which shows a disabled woman looking up a grassy rise toward her farm home, her face tantalizingly unseen.

“Really, I think one's art goes only as far and as deep as your love goes,” Wyeth said in a Life magazine interview in 1965.

“I don't paint these hills around Chadds Ford because they're better than the hills somewhere else. It's that I was born here, lived here — things have a meaning for me.”

Paradoxically, he said, he loved Maine “in spite of its scenery. There's a lot of cornball in that state you have to go through — boats at docks, old fishermen, and shacks with swayback roofs. I hate all that.”

Wyeth was a secretive man who spent hours tramping the countryside alone. He painted many portraits, working several times with favourite subjects, but said he disliked having someone else watching him paint.
Much of Wyeth's work had a melancholy feel — aging people and brown, dead plants — but he chose to describe his work as “thoughtful.”
“I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future — the timelessness of the rocks and the hills — all the people who have existed there,” he once said. “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape — the loneliness of it — the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show.

“I think anything like that — which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone — people always feel is sad. Is it because we've lost the art of being alone?”

Wyeth remained active in recent years and President George W. Bush presented him with a National Medal of the Arts in 2007.

Wyeth remained active in his 90s, but his granddaughter, Victoria Wyeth, told The Associated Press in 2008 that he no longer gave interviews. “He says, 'Vic, everything I have to say is on the walls,”' she said.
Wyeth was born July 12, 1917, in Chadds Ford, the youngest of N.C. Wyeth's five children. One of his sisters, Henriette, who died in 1997, also became an artist of some note, and one of his two sons, Jamie, became a noted painter in his own right. His other son, Nicholas, became an art dealer.

N.C. Wyeth, the only art teacher Wyeth ever had, didn't always agree with his son's taste.

In a 1986 interview with the AP, Wyeth recalled one of the last paintings he showed to his father, who died in 1945. It was a picture of a young friend walking across a barren field.

“He said, ‘Andy, that has a nice feel, of a crisp fall morning in New England.' He said, ‘You've got to do something to make this thing appeal. If you put a dog in it, or maybe have a gun in his hand,”' Wyeth recalled.
“Invariably my father talked about my lack of color.”

The low-key colours of Wyeth's work stem partly from his frequent use of tempera, a technique he began using in 1942. Unlike the oil paint used by most artists today, tempera produces a matte effect.

Wyeth had his first success at age 20, with an exhibition of Maine landscapes at a gallery in New York. Two years later he met his future wife, Betsy James.

Betsy Wyeth was a strong influence on her husband's career, serving as his business agent, keeping the world at bay and guiding his career choices.

It was Betsy who introduced Wyeth to Christina Olson. Wyeth befriended the disabled elderly woman and her brother, and practically moved in with them for a series of studies of the house, its environs and its occupants.
The acme of that series was “Christina's World,” painted in 1948. It was Olson's house, but the figure was Betsy Wyeth.

Another well-known Wyeth series was made at the home of Karl Kuerner, whose Pennsylvania farm bordered the spot where Wyeth's father was killed in a car-train accident.

Before his father died, Wyeth once said, “I was just a clever watercolorist — lots of swish and swash. ... (Afterward), for the first time in my life I was painting with a real reason to do it.” The Kuerner paintings often have an undertone of menace, a heavy ceiling hook or the jagged edge of a log outside a sun-warmed room.

It was at Kuerner's farm that Wyeth met Testorf, a German emigre who cleaned and cooked for Kuerner.
“I could not get out of my mind the image of this Prussian face with its broad jaw, wide-set eyes, blond hair,” Wyeth said.

Wyeth painted Testorf from 1970 to 1985, but said didn't show his wife any of the pictures until 1981. In 1985, he revealed the full series to her, and declared he wanted them sold. The buyer, Leonard Andrews, reportedly paid $6-million to $10-million for them.

The Helga paintings created a sensation when their existence was revealed in 1986, in part because many were nudes and because of Betsy Wyeth's provocative answer when asked what the works were about. “Love,” she said.

“He's a very secret person. He doesn't pry in my life and I don't pry in his. And it's worth it,” she said.

After 1985, Wyeth painted Testorf at least three more times.
The exhibition of the Helga paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington drew tens of thousands, but it renewed the dispute between Wyeth's admirers and his equally passionate detractors.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York pointedly refused to accept the exhibition. And it turned out that the original stories about the collection overstated things, since some of the Helga paintings had been exhibited earlier and Betsy Wyeth had been aware of some of them.
Andrews sold the Helga collection in 1990 to a Japanese industrialist for some “40 to 50 million dollars,” dealer Warren Adelson said in 2006, when he was handling the private sale of some 200 of the works. Adelson didn't identify the industrialist.

“When people want to bring sex into these images, OK, let 'em,” Wyeth was quoted in the catalogue to an exhibition Adelson organized. “The heart of the Helga series is that I was trying to unlock my emotions in capturing her essence, in getting her humanity down.”

Some critics dismissed Wyeth's art as that of a mere “regionalist.” Art critic Hilton Kramer was even more direct, once saying, “In my opinion, he can't paint.”

The late J. Carter Brown, who was for many years director of the National Gallery, called such talk “a knee-jerk reaction among intellectuals in this country that if it's popular, it can't be good.”

“I think the man's mastery of a variety of techniques is dazzling, and I think the content is in many cases moving,” Brown said.
I couldn't help add a comment to this article to say yes he could paint, that there was great soul in his work, and that he was and is one of my heroes... if not quite in those words.

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Old 17-01-09, 02:30 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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Time magazine has a couple interesting articles about him. This new one and an older article near the time of the Helga series release.

I was always respected his work but it wasn't until I saw a few in person that I felt how powerful they truly were.
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Old 18-01-09, 03:52 PM
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JeffG JeffG is offline
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Some articles from the Philadelphia media, which is close to Wyeth's home of Chadds Ford PA.

"Wyeth’s World" from Philadelphia Magazine, Aug 2008

Artists, neighbors remember Wyeth from the Philadelphia Inquirer

Famed artist Andrew Wyeth dies” By Edward J. Sozanski,Philadelphia Inquirer Contributing Art Critic
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Old 18-01-09, 08:49 PM
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PhilS PhilS is offline
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...It goes without saying that his critics that are being cited today came out of an age when authenticity and craftsmanship were not in vogue. The same critics glorified soup can labels and irony for irony's sake...

Well put, Janet. I couldn't have said it better. I've spent many hours studying his temperas at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. He was, and will always be, an inspiration.

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Old 20-01-09, 09:47 PM
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Matt Leahy Matt Leahy is offline
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Wyeth wasn't really on my radar until fairly recently- not until I took up tempera and saw his work in person. I even bought a book about him just a couple weeks ago. The more I saw the more impressed I became. His compositions are fantastic.

Plus he died peacefully in his sleep, can't ask for more than that.
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Old 23-01-09, 04:40 AM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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And what a great man he was, (not bush, of course, but Mr.Wyeth).
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