Monday, January 19, 2009

Andrew Wyeth

I was so sad to hear that my favorite artist, Andrew Wyeth, passed away last Thursday night. He's an American icon who has lived an incredibly interesting artist's life. Since I grew up in Maine, he was a staple subject of study in all our art classes and our trips to the Farnsworth Museum to see some of his work in person was always a special treat. Much of his work was in tempera paint, not incredibly commonly used anymore. His sense of detail, lighting, and mood never fail to move me. I really recommend this biography: A Secret Life, Andrew Wyeth, by Richard Meryman. It's a favorite biography of mine and is filled with personal stories from the very private artist himself (along with his family) from his childhood on up. His work ethic was unbelievable! I highly recommend the book. My deepest sympathies go out to his family in this sad time. He is an inspiration to me...he embodied the idea of "just do it" and the concept of getting out there and doing what you love all the time and in the best way you can.

His famous painting "Christina's World" shown here. (1948, tempera on gesso'd board) Museum of Modern Art, MoMA.org) The iconic image of his polio-stricken neighbor portrayed outside her house in Maine. The vast sense of space magnifies the fact that her broken body must claw it's way all the way back with her hands. Such a vast sense of lonliness and struggle.
2 paintings from the Helga series...a secret 14 year study of this model. The artist hid the fact he was painting her from everyone, including his wife for 15 years. It was quite the media circus when the news got out! Countless amazing paintings emerged from that time. It was fascinating to read about the whole thing in his biography I mentioned above. Very dramatic!


1 comment:

Megan said...

He is my favorite artist as well and I was so sad to hear of his passing. We went to Maine last year and went to the Farnsworth museum. We then drove down the road to Christina's home where he painted "Christina's World". It was one of the most serene places I have ever been. I could go on for days about that place....