While some may call him the most influential American artist of the mid 1900s, still others claim he was under-appreciated. Regardless of your feelings about the man and his work, the controversial Andrew Wyeth and the paintings he produced set a tone of minimalist artistry that continues to capture the attention of art enthusiasts around the world.
Born in 1917, Andrew Wyeth was the son of a famous illustrator. Home schooled by the ultimate art teacher, it seemed almost inevitable that the second generation Wyeth would carry on the family business of art. Drawing under his father's name while in his early teens led young Wyeth to his chose profession. By the time he was 21, he had his first exhibition in New York City where he sold out his complete stock of paintings. His style was much different than his father's though. Andrew presented a drier less colorful style than that of his father. He did less illustrations and more "pieces" than that of his famous illustrator father.
By far, Andrew Wyeth's most famous work was Christina's World. This minimalist painting depicted a young neighbor of Wyeth's in her yard staring at her home in the distance. The home and farm were typical of Andrew Wyeth's work by depicting a local regionalist style such as the farm that truly existed in his summer home of Cushing, Maine. Born in Chadds Ford, PA, many of Wyeths other works re-create a somber view of his home area.
Because he was schooled by his father, one would expect that his work would run parallel to that of his great teacher. However, Andrew Wyeth sought out his own art history and became influenced by the great Renaissance masters as well as American painter Winslow Homer. In return, Wyeth is said to have inspired many of today's artists including popular cartoonist Charles Schultz.
The saying is, "like father, like son" and so is the case in the Wyeth family. Just as Andrew followed in the footsteps of his famous father N C Wyeth, so did Andrew's own son follow in his father's steps to become the renowned artist Jamie Wyeth. Three generations of Wyeth artists helped paint and create a more beautiful world.
Through his depiction of the people and landscapes around him, Wyeth brought to life a realistic and abstractionist view of the local area. His expert use of watercolor, dry brush technique and egg empera is one that has yet to be topped by modern artists.
For more information about Andrew Wyeth, please visit www.andrewwyeth.org/.