Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wyeth, Andrew

Wind from the Sea
Tempera on hardboard
47 x 70 cm (18 1/2 x 27 9/16 in.)
Private collection
National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

"its all in how you arrange the thing… the careful balance of design is motion." (Wyeth)
Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009) is one of the foremost American artists of the twentieth century. He was a visual artist, primarily a realist painter in the American tradition, capturing the people and landscapes of his country on canvas. The youngest of five children, his artistic talent was highly influenced by his famous illustrator father. Wyeth was mostly home-schooled and did not attend any college or university. He also did not receive any formal artistic training, but his parents recognized and nurtured his talent. The Wyeth family was highly creative.

He was inspired by the people and landscapes that surrounded his childhood home in Pennsylvania and his summer home in Maine. His close friends and neighbors were usually the subjects of his paintings. His most famous model and subject of numerous works was Christina Olson. One of the most well-known images in twentieth century American art is his painting, Christina's World. Following her death, Wyeth painted Helga Testorf for over a decade. He created over 240 studies of this model known as the Helga Suite.

"Wind from the Sea" is painted in tempera, a Renaissance technique whereby egg yolk is used to bind pigment. This painting is a scene from a room on the top floor of his Christina Olson’s house in coastal Maine and captures a moment on a hot summer day, when the tattered and transparent curtains are blown into the room by wind coming from the sea. This painting embodies not only the heat but also the feeling of Maine in the summer.
In Wyeth’s words, "Art to me, is seeing. I think you have got to use your eyes, as well as your emotion, and one without the other just doesn't work… If one could only catch that true color of nature ? the very thought of it drives me mad."