1/21/2009

The Passing of Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth has passed away at the ripe old age of 91. Wow. This was a serious painter. An icon. One of my personal art heroes.
My infatuation with Andrew Wyeth began 10 years ago when I was working in Utica. I was new in town and spent quite a bit of time taking out books from the library. I was working on watercolor techniques and was putting myself thru a rigorous private tutorial of how to do it. I was doing plein air studies and learning from the masters thru books and pictures. I really found myself drawn to Homer first. And next was Wyeth. His work was raw. It represented landscapes that were so similar to the ones that surround me here in upstate NY so I could easily relate. His subjects were intense German folk...they reminded me of my own German relatives. I felt the intensity in his work and immediately was drawn into it. Such inspiration! Damn. I remember taking out book after book from the library, and staring and staring at the genius represented in the pages...studying.

Then I discovered his Helga Pictures. OMG, these are some powerfully painted works! They still move me to this day the same way they did when I first saw them. The fluid watercolor, the way the paint blends into the trees blends into her flesh, the lighting!!!

It makes me reel. I can remember pouring over the Helga Pictures book...hours and hours. I felt as though Wyeth was the pinnacle, the ultimate expressor...the detail man above the others. His light depiction was crazy and something to aspire to. I don't care what critics say. I know what moves ME.
So later on in life, I find myself working in Canajoharie, NY. Canajoharie has this most excellent little library and a gallery attached with pieces of art done by several famous artists, including Homer...and Wyeth. Turns out, Mr. Arkell was a great art collector and donated a huge amount of art to the town. The museum holds the collection. There's this one painting that the museum owns done by Wyeth. It graced the wall not to long ago when they had a special Wyeth composite exhibit with works by N.C. and Jamie. It's haunting. And I love the fact that every now and then the museum exposes it for us, and I can go see it up close and swoon over the brushstrokes that provide such strong realism and emotion from me.

The painting in Arkell that i get to see up close sometimes...

So I am sad he has passed away although I know for all of us our time will also come. I just went to our local library and took out the Helga Pictures book. I had to see them again, in memoriam.

2 comments:

tgarrett said...

I too am sad about his death. Many years ago i was in the Chads Ford area of PA and the Brandywine River art museum had a huge collection of his work and that memory is burned into my memory. I bought a book of his work there- this was in 1974!!!
I love the Groundhog's Day painting. And the one of that old window with the tattered lace curtain. Such raw emotion.
Terry

Julie Sadler said...

Seriously. I do love his intensity.

something to aspire to.


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