Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Andrew Wyeth
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. That’s my art.
Andrew Newell WYETH ( July 12, 1917 — January 16, 2009), a painter of landscape and figure subjects in Pennsylvania and Maine, became one of the best-known American painters of the 20th century. His style is both realistic and abstract, and he works primarily in tempera and watercolor, often using the drybrush technique.
Andrew Wyeth maintained a style strongly oriented towards Realism when Abstract Expressionism was all-prevalent. Adhering to his own path, he was snubbed by many prominent art critics. However, his paintings have elements of abstraction in that the work derives from his strong feelings about his subjects, which often appear in unusual positions, juxtapositions, and with features highlighted for emotional effect. His work usually suggests rural quiet, isolation, and somber mood and is devoid of modern-day objects such as automobiles.
In 1937, Wyeth’s first one-man show of watercolors depicting scenes around Port Clyde, Maine, sold out at the Macbeth Gallery in New York. In Maine, Andrew first spent his summers in Port Clyde with his family, but after his marriage to Betsy James in 1940, he and his wife went regularly to Cushing.
Christina Olson of Cushing, at the end of Hathorn Point, was his most famous model, but over the years, Wyeth formed close friendships with – and painted – several other Maine neighbors. His closest friend, Walt Anderson, gradually ages before the eyes of viewers in numerous Wyeth drawings and paintings that show life’s changes from the youthful Young Swede (1939) to the older man in Adrift (1982).
The Olson House is the first property ever named to the National Register of Historic Places for being recognized as the site of a painting, Christina’s World, one of the most recognized paintings in American art.
After the death of Christina Olson, Wyeth used female models Siri Erickson of Cushing, and Helga Testorf of Chadds Ford. Depictions of the nude Helga, a total of 240 works, provided grist for an avalanche of sensational publicity. The Helga paintings were exhibited in 1987 at the National Gallery of Art, the gallery’s first exhibition of works by a living artist.