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Andrew Wyeth

Updated on June 29, 2011

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.

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.

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    • profile image

      ruffridyer 6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      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.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Lucky Cowboy! Awesome!

    • profile image

      cowboy 7 years ago

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

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      b4, great to see another Andrew Wyeth fan!

    • b4murray profile image

      b4murray 7 years ago from Massachusetts

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

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

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

    • profile image

      Lula 7 years ago

      I didn't like it very much to be honest

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      You're welcome!

    • nikitha p profile image

      nikitha p 7 years ago from India

      Thanks for a nice hub.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Charles!

    • reversecharles profile image

      reversecharles 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Wonderful job you did, and I love the artwork.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

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

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      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 profile image

      valeriebelew 7 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      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

    • profile image

      Paul Etzel 7 years ago

      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.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

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

    • profile image

      Phillyfreeze69 8 years ago

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

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

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

    • profile image

      Phillyfreeze69 8 years ago

      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.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Yep, Katie - I love Wyeth's story!

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 8 years ago from I'm outta here

      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:)

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Aleida, glad I'm not theonly one! lol

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

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

    • aleida_77 profile image

      aleida_77 8 years ago from Los Angeles

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

    • earthlover profile image

      earthlover 8 years ago

      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!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      mhuze, great to meet another Wyeth fan!

    • mhuze profile image

      mhuze 8 years ago from USA

      Love, Love, LOVE, Andrew Wyeth!!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

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

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      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 :-)

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      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 profile image

      GPAGE 8 years ago from California

      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

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Sord. I'll check it out!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Chris, thanks so much for the heads up!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

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

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Isn't that amazing, Pam?

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

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

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Johnny, I agree. Thanks for visiting!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      You're welcome, Lily!

    • profile image

      sord87 8 years ago

      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...

    • profile image

      Chris 8 years ago

      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 profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      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.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      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, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      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. profile image

      sheila b. 8 years ago

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

    • kowality profile image

      kowality 8 years ago from Everywhere

      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 profile image

      Lily Rose 8 years ago from East Coast

      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...

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