Birthday: July 12, 1917
Died At Age: 91
Sun Sign: Cancer
Born in: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania,, United States
Quotes By Andrew Wyeth
Spouse/Ex-: Betsy James
father: N.C. (Newell Convers) Wyeth
mother: Carolyn Bockius Wyeth
siblings: Ann Wyeth McCoy, Carolyn Wyeth, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Nathaniel Wyeth
children: James, Nicholas
Died on: January 16, 2009
place of death: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania,, United States
U.S. State: Pennsylvania
awards: 2007 - National Medal of Arts
1988 - Congressional Gold Medal
Andrew Newell Wyeth was an American visual artist and realist painter. He will be remembered for his creations of paintings like ‘Christina’s World’ and ‘Winter 1946’. Trained by his artist father N.C. Wyeth, he achieved an important place in the field of art in the United States. As an artist, his first solo exhibition in New York attracted public attention when all of his paintings were sold there. After losing his father in an accident, he expressed his grief for his father by shifting his paintings from realism to abstract expressionism. He expressed his sincere grief for the death of his father by portraying barren lands and single figure. Some of his well known paintings include ‘Roasted Chestnuts’ and his self portrait titled ‘Trodden Weed’. All of his painting works represent a perfect amalgamation of beauty, emotion and symbolism. His usage of light and shadow is truly thought provoking. Moreover, all of his paintings prove his expertise in using the technique of egg tempera. Through the creation of paintings like ‘Ravens Grove’, ‘Night Sleeper’ and ‘Pentecost’, he attempted to interpret various moods of light. As the recipient of several prestigious awards, he was the first living American artist whom Britain’s Royal Academy elected as its member.
Childhood & Early Life
Born to artist N.C. Wyeth and Carolyn Bockius Wyeth in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, United States, Andrew Wyeth was the youngest of the five children of his parents.
Due to his sinus problems, he could not attend public school. Instead, he received his education from private tutors at home. It was this time, when he became interested towards art.
When he was very young, he showed his design of a toy miniature theater to his father. Realising his potential for becoming an artist, his father started instructing him in art.
N.C. Wyeth taught him necessary techniques of painting and the use of light and shadows in paintings along with the paintings relation to life and mood. He allowed his son to create his own individual identity as an artist.
Under his father’s guidance, he started painting in watercolours. During this time, he studied art history and was influenced by the painters of Renaissance period. The paintings of Wilslow Homer impressed him much.
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He showed some of his paintings to Robert Macbeth, an art dealer of New York City. Impressed by these works, Macbeth organized a solo exhibition at the Macbeth Gallery in New York City in October 1937.
This show featured his representation of watercolour landscape and seascape of Maine where he spent time for several months. The show was successful and all his paintings were sold out within two days and its success secured his position in the art industry.
It was painter Peter Hurd, his brother-in-law, who introduced him to unique technique of paintings like egg tempera. At that time, Andrew’s paintings used to reflect his attention towards detail rather giving importance to colour combination.
The introduction of this new technique helped him to incorporate textural effects in his paintings. In 1945, he created paintings like ‘East Waldoboro’. In the same year, he lost his father a street accident.
This incident left a deep impact on his mind. He expressed this great loss through his artistic creations like ‘Winter 1946’.His painting of barren landscape and single figure reflected his mourning for his father.
He then started creating portraits of people with whom he had close relations. He painted Anna and Karl Kuerner who were his neighbours in Chadds Ford. Their farm was also one of his favorite subjects of painting for about 30 years.
In 1948, his creation of ‘Christina’s World’ brought him wide acknowledgement as an artist for his effective use of symbolism.
In 1963, based on his life and work. “Time” magazine published a cover story.
He created the painting of ‘Distant Thunder’ in 1961. In 1967, he remained busy in creating the painting of ‘Spring Fed’. During the 1960s and 1970s, he created a number of portraits of Siri Erickson. In this context the painting of ‘Indian Summer’, which he created in 1970, deserves special mention.
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From 1971, he started creating portraits of Helga Testorf, a female model of his painting. Through his creation of the painting titled ‘Barracoon’ in 1976, he endeavoured to present the theme of timelessness.
He exhibited all the paintings of Helga Testorf at the National Gallery of Art in 1987. In the same year, Bates College offered him a D.F.A. In 1993, his creation of ‘Whale Rib’ shows his emotional representation of Maine .
He created the painting titled ‘Winter 1946’ after his father’s death in 1945. This painting features a single figure of a boy running down a hill. He identifies himself with the lonely boy and tried to express his sense of loss and inevitability of death through this image.
In 1948, he created the painting ‘Christina’s World’ that shows a woman in a treeless background. The image of Christiana denotes her inner strength though she is physically weak..
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Betsy Merle James on May 15, 1940. They had two children, Nicholas and Jamie. His wife Betsy had a great influence in his life. It was she who introduced him with Christina Olson, a polio victim who served as a model for his paintings.
On account of poor health condition, he died in his sleep at the age of 91 at his home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
This talented artist made around 240 portraits of Helga Testorf, a female model of his painting. Later, these paintings created lots of controversy regarding the artist’s love affair with this model.