Andrew Wyeth, photographed at his Chadd’s Ford, Pa. property, via the New York Times
“Wyeth was an anti-modern painter … He did paintings that never changed, in a style that never changed. His image is one of stasis in a world that changed dramatically around him, and for my money that is a conservative position. It is in many ways a futile exercise, but he did it with great energy and conviction.”
— Robert Storr, Dean, Yale University School of Art, to the New York Times.
Andrew Wyeth, a key figure in 20th century American art and one of its most popular artists, died on Friday, January 16th, 2009 at the age of 91. Wyeth’s oeuvre, which falls squarely within the realism genre of painting, has provoked both intense praise and intense criticism regarding the quality and content of his work.
His paintings centered around depictions of rural America, its landscapes and its people, and was often dismissed as formulaic, trite Americana. His works were infused with a sincerity that stood in marked contrast to the Modernist, Abstract Expressionist and Pop art movements that emerged during his career. Nevertheless, the artist was always sought out among the general populace, with paintings such as Christina’s World becoming as familiar as Grant Wood’s American Gothic, becoming widely reproduced in prints. Wyeth was especially popular in Middle America for what many considered a steadfast, romantic patriotism and attachment to rural themes and subjects.
An Unmistakable Figure on the Barren Landscape [Washington Post]
For Wyeth, Both Praise and Doubt [New York Times]
Andrew Wyeth, Painter, Dies at 91 [New York Times]
Andrew Wyeth, painter of Christina’s World, dies aged 91 [Times UK]
Andrew Wyeth, Painter of ‘Christina’s World,’ Dies [Bloomberg]
Weighing Andrew Wyeth [Wall Street Journal]
US artist Andrew Wyeth dies [BBC]
The artist stirred up controversy with his ‘Helga paintings’ series in 1986. These series was made up of 240 paintings featuring nude and clothed portraits and depictions of one of Wyeth’s female neighbors; his wife (and manager) Betsy claimed to have not known of their existence, and made several not-so-subtle insinuations of infidelity. The art world media made the story a sensation, and after the works went on display they were sold for $45 million to a Japanese industrialist. Later, the truth emerged: several of the paintings had been in the public eye for almost a decade. It is still not entirely clear whether the Wyeths fabricated the story to drive up the price of the art and promote the paintings, but allegations to that effect continue to this day.
Wyeth’s works are a part of most respected American museums’ collections, and hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among many other notable institutions. He is survived by a wife and two children.
Christina’s World (1948) by Andrew Wyeth, via the New York Times
Wind from the Sea (1947) by Andrew Wyeth, via the New York Times
Master Bedroom (1965) by Andrew Wyeth, via the New York Times