ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

About Andrew Wyeth - American Artist

Updated on September 1, 2015
makingamark profile image

Katherine has researched and written about many American and Australian Artists - both past and present

Photograph of Andrew Wyeth painting plain air (crop) By Williamwaterway
Photograph of Andrew Wyeth painting plain air (crop) By Williamwaterway | Source

Introducing Andrew Wyeth and his Paintings

Find out about Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) - one of the USA's most popular and celebrated artists.

Wyeth was an American Contemporary Realist Painter who worked mainly in watercolor and/or egg tempera. He died on 16th January 2009 age 91.

This compendium provides an introduction to Andrew Wyeth and links to resources where you can find out more about his life and work. These include: official websites, past exhibitions in museums and art galleries, books about the artist and his work and where you can find images online.

Please note that all Andrew Wyeth's work is copyright protected

"a lifetime of paintings whose meticulous realism have captured the American consciousness, and whose austere vision has displayed the depth and dignity of rural American life."

— Citation of National Medal of Arts to Andrew Wyeth on November 15, 2007

Andrew Wyeth - BIOGRAPHY

Andrew Newell Wyeth (July 12, 1917 - January 16, 2009) was an extremely well-known American Artist who was extremely popular in the middle of the twentieth century.

He painted one of the most well-known paintings in America - Christina's World (Collection of Museum of Modern Art in New York City)

However his the representational nature of his work fell out of favour with the contemporary art critics and scholars and his work was typically ignored by them from the 1960s onwards despite an enduring popularity with the public. However Wyeth - who always said he painted for himself - continued to paint until just before his death and continued to delight his admirers, collectors, and the public which loved his paintings.

He was born in in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in the Brandywine Valley near Philadelphia. He was the youngest child of artist and illustrator and artist N.C. Wyeth - who illustrated many of the adventure story books of the early 20th century such as "Treasure Island" and "The Last of the Mohicans." His father provided him with early lessons in art

In 1937, at the age of 20, his first solo exhibition of watercolour paintings at the Macbeth Gallery in New York sold out. This indicated how popular his paintings were to become during the rest of his career.

Wyeth married Betsy James in 1940 having met her in Maine in 1939. She was a huge influence on him after his father died and managed his affairs. They had two sons Nicholas and Jamie - with Jamie also becoming an artist.

He was identified by Time Magazine in 1950 as being one of the greatest American artists. He became symbolic for some as the artist representing the real and representational and was ranged against the new vanguard of expressionist painters such as Jackson Pollock

In 1986, Wyeth made public a collection of 246 artworks of a neighbour called Helga Testorf. These comprised drawings, studies and paintings. Two aspects which raised eyebrows were that many of the works were of a nude Helga and these had all apparently been kept secret from his wife.

Wyeth was a very popular artist with both museums (exhibitions tended to generate high attendances) and the public until the end of his life. His artwork is now in many major and important collections in the USA - including those of major museums.

Awards he received

included:

  • 1963 - the Presidential Medal of Freedom - from President John F. Kennedy (first American painter to receive this award)
  • 1977 - elected to the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France (the first American painter since John Singer-Sargent)
  • 1978 - asked to join the Soviet Academy of the Arts
  • 1980 - elected to Britain's Royal Academy (first living American painter).
  • 1988 - Congressional Gold Medal

Andrew Wyeth: Autobiography
Andrew Wyeth: Autobiography

Paperback: 168 pagesPublisher: Bulfinch (September 15, 1998)

 

BOOK: Andrew Wyeth: Autobiography - by Thomas Hoving and Andrew Wyeth

RECOMMENDED: Rated an average of 5.0 out of 5.0 stars (22 customer reviews)

I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. I've read this book and if you like Wyeth I highly recommend you try to get hold of a copy.

The reproductions are excellent and the stories he tells about each painting ensure that you will will always look at them in future with a much better idea of how they came about.

The book presents a comprehensive retrospective of Andrew Wyeth's artwork and includes 138 tempera, drybrush, and watercolor paintings and pencil studies.

Andrew Wyeth always made it clear that he painted for himself. The book also includes a record of his interviews with Thomas Hoving, and through these Wyeth comments on the different paintings and contributes facts about their genesis and meaning, his life and his art

Photograph of Andrew Wyeth painting plain air (crop) By William Waterway Marks
Photograph of Andrew Wyeth painting plain air (crop) By William Waterway Marks | Source

Andrew Wyeth - Obituaries and biographical notes

There were very many obituaries of Andrew Wyeth following his death in January 2009. I believe I've tracked down all the main ones and have included them below.

Plus the citation for his award of the National Medal of Art awarded in 2007 - two years before he died

By their very nature they provide a comprehensive biographical resource about his life and a commentary on the value of his art in America.

Andrew Wyeth, one of the most popular and also most lambasted artists in the history of American art, a reclusive linchpin in a colorful family dynasty of artists whose precise realist views of hardscrabble rural life became icons of national culture and sparked endless debates about the nature of modern art, died Jan. 16; he was 91.

— New York Times - Notable Deaths of 2009

The OFFICIAL Andrew Wyeth website

Mr. Wyeth's copyrights belong to his estate. Unauthorized uses of copyrighted images are not permitted.

Note: All individual paintings on this website are reproductions available from art.com

Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life
Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life

Paperback: 464 pages | 76 black and white and 16 colour photographs

Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 21, 1998)

 

Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life

RECOMMENDED: Rated an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars by 28 customer reviews

Richard Meryman's biography of the painter, Andrew Wyeth attempts to examine the character and complex personality of this famous painter - and the motivations and processes he used to produce his paintings.

The book is based on 30 years of research - including frequent visits and conversations with the artist and his family and friends.

About the Artwork

"I paint the things that emotionally mean a lot to me....

I just can't make up something.

It's got to be something I have felt."

— Andrew Wyeth

Wyeth's approach to painting

Most of Wyeth's drawings and paintings stem from subject matter close to home. Most are of the people, buildings, interiors and landscapes associated with:

  • his studio, home, landscapes and neighbours in Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania - where the Kueners Farm was situated. in 1948, he began painting Anna and Karl Kuerner. He also met Helga Testorf at the Kuener Farm and then painted her between 1971-85. When they were revealed to the world, there was a scandal as it was assumed she had been his lover. Leonard E.B. Andrews (1925-2009) purchased almost the entire collection of Helga Paintings so that they could be preserved as a collection - and then sold them three years later

  • his summer home in Cushing, Maine - next to the Olsen Farm, where Christina Olsen lived

However his paintings also portrayed a complex and enigmatic inner life.

His father's death in a car accident in 1945 acted as a profound influence on Andrew Wyeth's subsequent style.

After the accident, his paintings:

  • became more serious, metaphorical - and at time intensely emotional
  • however some of the paintings are an abstracted notion of an emotional response to events and situations in his life.
  • nevertheless subjects were rendered in a very realistic way
  • and he began to use a muted palette

His approach to painting was to make several studies in an abstract way - using pencil or 'washy brushy' watercolour before beginning a painting proper. He painted in an apparently realistic way using watercolour, drybrush (a watercolor style in which the water is squeezed from the brush), and egg tempera.

Words used to describe his art by those who preferred more less realistic and more contemporary art were "sentimental" and "illustrative". The comments probably say more about those saying them.

“I think the great weakness in most of my work is subject matter. There’s too much of it.”

— Andrew Wyeth

VIDEO: Andrew Wyeth paints Tom Hoving - This is the only known video capturing Mr. Wyeth at work.

A Video created by Tom Hoving at Chadds Ford in 2003

VIDEO: Andrew Wyeth's watercolour works

Original Works and Exhibitions - Frank E. Fowler Representing Andrew Wyeth

This is the website of Wyeth's representative, Frank Fowler

"I honestly consider myself to be an abstractionist."

— Andrew Wyeth

VIDEO: Andrew Wyeth paintings

Andrew Wyeth - omnibus sites

These are comprehensive omnibus - and now archival - sites about Andrew Wyethr which provide access to their own perspective on Wyeth as well as pointers to other sites providing information about Wyeth

Photographs of Andrew Wyeth

It's not too easy to track down photographs of Andrew Wyeth and/or his studios and/or his models online - but it is possible.

These are sites I've found - but I'm always happy to hear about others.

Wyeth in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

Wyeth and Pennsylvania

Nearly all of Wyeth's work has been about only two locations:

  • The Olson farm in Maine and
  • the Kuerner farm in Pennsylvania - near his home and studio in Chadd's Ford.

Location of Brandywine Museum

A markerHome of the museum about Andrew Wyeth and the rest of the Wyeth family -
Brandywine River Museum 1 Hoffman's Mill Road, Chadds Ford, PA
get directions

Brandywine River Museum 1 Hoffman's Mill Road, Chadds Ford, PA - on Google Maps

The Brandywine Museum is open Daily, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Andrew Wyeth Home and Studio at Chadd's Ford

Andrew Wyeth's Studio - Chadds Ford Studio opens to public in Summer 2012

In the summer of 2012, Andrew Wyeth's studio at Chadd's Ford was opened to the public for the first time. Wyeth's widow gave the studio to the Brandywine Museum who then restored it. Tours take place between April and mid-November - see the website listed below for more details of dates and timings. A complimentary Brandywine River Museum shuttle bus provides transportation to the Andrew Wyeth Studio.

Andrew Wyeth painted in his studio at Chadd's Ford Wyeth for nearly 70 years - from 1940 until 2008. There are very many paintings which were painted in this studio. The museums suggests that thousands of works of art are associated with this studio.

The Brandywine Museum has restored the rooms to the way they would have looked at different times when Wyeth lived and worked there. The atmosphere and palette of the the larger studio space is much the same as his paintings - austere, cool and spare.

Sources for painting around the studio include

  • the Brandywine River and its valleys
  • the farms and the countryside around Chadds Ford.
  • Karl and Anna Kuerner's farm can be found about one mile from his parents' home in Chadds Ford.

The white clapboard that houses Andrew Wyeth's studio at Chadd's Ford used to be an old schoolhouse. It was built in 1875 as part of the Chadds Ford School District and lies just off Creek Road, south of U.S. 1. His father NC Wyeth bought it in 1925. It also served as a home for Andrew Wyeth until 1961.

Andrew Wyeth valued his privacy and there is a sign on his Studio Door which reads "I am working so please do not disturb." Plus - just in case visitors did not get the point "I do not sign autographs"!

Wyeth at Kuerners
Wyeth at Kuerners

Published: Houghton Mifflin Company (December 1976)

 

Wyeth at Kuerners

Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews)

This book is written by Betsy Wyeth, his wife, who explains how he works and contains 370 reproductions, 315 of which have never been reproduced before.

"In the 1980s, Mr. Wyeth was the subject of an intense media spotlight for his "Helga" series of 45 paintings and 200 sketches. These pictures, many of them nudes, were the product of hundreds of modeling sessions with a Chadds Ford neighbor, Helga Testorf, over a 15-year period. No one else, not even Mr. Wyeth's wife, had previously known about them, and their disclosure to the public was arguably the art event of the decade."

— 'Washington Post' 16th January 2009
Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures
Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures

by John Wilmerding (Author), Andrew Wyeth (Artist)

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (May 1987)

Available in hardcover and paperback, new and used

 

Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures - Wilmerding & Wyeth

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars (16 customer reviews)

This book is associated with the original exhibition of the Helga Pictures and has been critically acclaimed.

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

— Andrew Wyeth

Wyeth in Maine

Christina's World: Paintings and Prestudies of Andrew Wyeth

This book contains rarely seen watercolors and drawings Andrew Wyeth made of his friend Christina Olson, her brother Alvaro, and the weathered Maine farmstead where they lived.

VIDEO: The Olsen House - a photo tour

A photo tour of the Olsen House, made famous in paintings and drawings by Andrew Wyeth.

Artwork on View

Andrew Wyeth in Museums and Art Galleries

ART COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITIONS

His paintings are in the collections of many American Museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) and the Museum of Modern Art.

Exhibitions

He has had exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

wyeth centre

I've visited the Wyeth Centre in Rockland, Maine and seen Andrew Wyeth's paintings - and that of his family - at first hand. It's a very worthwhile visit for any fan of his work.

A Wyeth retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006 drew more than 175,000 visitors in 15 weeks, the highest-ever attendance at the museum for a living artist.

Wyeth's "Soaring" - a short curatorial talk

The title of the Philadelphia exhibition, "Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic," alludes not only to the first major exhibition in which Wyeth was included, the "Magic Realism" show of 1943 at New York's Museum of Modern Art, but also to the importance of magic and memory in his work. "Magic! It's what makes things sublime," the artist has said. "It's the difference between a picture that is profound art and just a painting of an object."

— Smithsonian Magazine (16th January 2009)

Andrew Wyeth in Online Galleries

Also try "Andrew Wyeth" in Google Images

Reviews and Comments

Blogging about Wyeth

A numbers of art bloggers and others have written blog posts about Andrew Wyeth. Most of these were created following his death in 2009.

Comments and Suggestions - Let me know what you think

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      What a comprehensive hub on Andrew Wyeth. Good job. It brings back memory for me. In the early 1990s, I worked on a project that implemented a digital imaging system to capture and store many of his artworks. My favorite Andrew Wyeth painting is "The Big Room".

    • ERiverDogs profile image

      ERiverDogs 4 years ago

      Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      seosmm 5 years ago

      Really enjoyed the Andrew Wyeth information. Very comprehensive lens. Thanks!

    • tcorbs profile image

      tcorbs 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed watching the Andrew Wyeth video. Great lens! I invite you to take a look at my Andrew Wyeth lens.

    • jnstewart profile image

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      One of the best compliments that I ever received was when someone said that one of my watercolors reminded them of Wyeth. I got to visit the Brandywine Museum in PA and it's packed with all of the Wyeth's paintings - quite a treasure. Beautiful lens.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Oh my, such a classic artist -- an excellent resource page you have created -- I surely do appreciate you sharing "The OFFICIAL Andrew Wyeth website = Copyright Details" -- those are some interesting details. Maybe more artists' sites need to spell that out.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I have just now stumbled onto this site and your wealth of information! Wonderful lens on Andrew Wyeth--He has always been a favorite artist of mine. I was even lucky enough to visit he and Betsey when I was a young art student--truly down to earth and humble. So sad that he is no longer making art.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Andrew Wyeth is one of my three favorite artists, the others being Maxfield Parrish and William M. Harnett. Whatever you may feel about Wyeth's work, one thing I believe is unquestionable; no artist ever knew the coldness and stillness of Winter like that man.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      A classic artist that did the finest

    • profile image

      chidchan 8 years ago

      Great Lens!Congrats on lens of the day!!!

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 8 years ago from Lancaster PA

      Beautiful and thorough. I must really take some time to really read through this, and I will.A tribute to a genius who inspires genius in all of us.Thanks for creating this!!

    • plecasso lm profile image

      plecasso lm 8 years ago

      very nice in depth lens, I enjoyed reading it

    • GiftsByDiana profile image

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 8 years ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      Our local museum The Butler in nearby Youngstown, Ohio (I'm in Hubbard, Ohio) has a nice display of his works.It is nice to see such talent being appreciated and remembered.Organically Yours, Diana http://organicgiftsbydiana.mybisi.com/ http://www.squidoo.com/AllNaturalPerfume

    • profile image

      ShortSaleRealtor 8 years ago

      Great lens hi five to you and congrats on lotd

    • GreenRevolution profile image

      GreenRevolution 8 years ago

      Excellent lens! I enjoyed reading about Andrew Wyeth's life and watching his beautiful paintings. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information and congrats on achieving LOTD! Great job! 5 *****

    • wayfarer lm profile image

      wayfarer lm 8 years ago

      Great lens about a great artist. He'll be sorely missed.

    • DoraArtDesign profile image

      DoraArtDesign 8 years ago

      Andrew Wyeth had a great talent. An artist myself, I also admired the work of his father NC Wyeth. This lens had such a wealth of infomation, congratulations!http://www.squidoo.com/Painting-knit-crochethttp:/...

    • profile image

      AdriennePetersen 8 years ago

      Great lens, 5 stars and congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      SharonHirschowitz 8 years ago

      Congrats - gr8 lens!

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 8 years ago from Midwest

      Congratulations on LOD! Wyeth 's work is a treasure.

    • Northernista profile image

      Northernista 8 years ago

      Congrats, 5*'s!

    • profile image

      tarastillhere 8 years ago

      A lot of great information.Well put together lens.Congrats

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congrats on getting Lens of the Day! The security word is "eggsnog" - brilliant!

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 8 years ago from Yorktown NY

      This is an excellent lens on Andrew Wyeth. Congratulations on a job well done. I actually met Andrew Wyeth and his wife Betsy back in 1990 when I worked at IBM Research. Here is the posting I placed in the NYT on his passing - http://community.nytimes.com/article/comments/2009...

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congratulations on winning LotD.

    • EpicFarms profile image

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Wyeth's work is absolutely amazing to look at (and boy do I wish I could paint like that!! :o) Http://www.Squidoo.com/ConnieCrankpot

    • profile image

      ZBT 8 years ago

      Artfully and beautifully crafted ... you've done a great job. Congratulations!

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      Congratulations - a great lens of the day.

    • profile image

      Joan4 8 years ago

      Congratulations on Lens of the Day!

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 8 years ago

      His water paintings are wonderful, may his soul rest in peace. Congrats makingamark on LOTD.

    • profile image

      teragatto 8 years ago

      Fantastic! thanks for the Art moment and congrats on lens of the day!

    • PleasantValley LM profile image

      PleasantValley LM 8 years ago

      Wow. Brilliant lens! I saw "Christina's World" on sale at the MoMA a few years ago and had to get it.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Congratulations on making Lens of the DayLizzy

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Congratulations with LOTD

    • myvirtuallady lm profile image

      myvirtuallady lm 8 years ago

      Andrew Wyeth is a wonderful source of inspiration. Congratulations and thanks for this great moment of Art !

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 8 years ago from California

      What a fabulous tribute to a great artist. I love his amazing use of light and shadow. Congrats on Lens of the Day. Well deserved. 5 stars, favorited, and lensrolled to my art lenses. I'm also a FAN! Bear hugs, Frankster aka Bearmeister aka Cat-Woman

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! - Kathy

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Andrew Wyeth, what a good topic! Congrats on lens of the day!!!

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Congratulations and a hearty SquidAngel Blessing for this marvelous lens! :)

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 8 years ago

      One of my favorite contemporary artists. I even put a tiny little Christina's World over the mantle in one of my dollhouses!

    • TimeHacker profile image

      TimeHacker 8 years ago

      Very nice and informative lens, 5*. And congrats on the LOTD :)

    • julcal profile image

      julcal 8 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! This is a gorgeous lens! I'm a Wyeth fan who lives just across the border of Chadds Ford.~ Julie

    • profile image

      packman57 8 years ago

      What a very educational lens. Thanks for all the hard work you did. Great Job. Congrats on LOTD!!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Congratulations with LOTD :)

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 8 years ago from USA

      He was one of my favorite artists. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • profile image

      seedplanter 8 years ago

      I remember reading an article about Andrew Wyeth after his death, but this lens offers the whole picture in such great detail. Thank you! I love his quote about breaking all the rules. In art and in writing, some of the most successful work bucked the ordinary and made heads spin. You should be very proud of this lens. Congratulatons on LOTD!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 8 years ago

      I was sad to hear the passing of Wyeth today, actually I was more surprised to hear he was still alive...I wish I had known that...I believe he was 91...his God given talent will live on and we will see the pleasure in that....conrgats on LOTD....5*

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      What a resource! Excellent. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • SherryHolderHunt profile image

      SherryHolderHunt 8 years ago

      My condolences to his family and friends. His work is outstanding, his love of art evident. Great lens in his honor. 5*s

    • profile image

      Tarra99 8 years ago

      Congrats on making LotD! :o)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Congrats on lens of the day! :)

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Congrats on making LOTD. :)

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Excellent reference for one of the world's greatest artists. Well deserved LOTD!

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 8 years ago

      No one captured mood like Wyeth, he was an incredible artist. It's sad to see him gone. On a happy note, congratulations on LOTD!