Tuesday, July 14, 2015

WORK OF THE WEEK: "Blue Blanket" by Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth
Blue Blanket
Watercolor on paper
11 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches
Blue Blanket depicts a group of horses turned out in the pasture of Kuerner Farm one of the few remaining working farms in the region surrounding the artist’s Pennsylvania home. Andrew Wyeth’s Chadds Ford neighbors, Karl and Anna Kuerner, as well as the buildings and landscape of their farm, have served as subject matter for some of the artist’s most recognizable works. Though all of Wyeth’s art is drawn from his life experiences, his images of the Kuerner farm have particular personal resonance. Scholars have suggested that Wyeth found a father figure in Karl, his German-born neighbor who owned the property the artist had been fascinated with since childhood. In this engaging view of one of Wyeth’s most noteworthy subjects, a group of blanketed horses enjoy a bit of hay and some winter sunshine as they meander peacefully around the field. The blue-blanketed horse, Dentzel (apparently a particular favorite of the artist), stands out against the pale blue of the winter sky. In Wyeth’s signature style, this watercolor evokes the austerity of the wintry farm landscape, while also conveying a sense of the rolling Pennsylvania countryside in which it is located.

Andrew Wyeth was a visual artist, primarily a realist painter, working predominantly in a regionalist style. He was one of the best-known American artists of the mid 20th century, and was sometimes referred to as the “Painter of the People,” due to his work’s popularity with the American public. Wyeth’s favorite subjects were the land and the people around him, both in his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and at his summer home in Cushing, Maine. Andrew Wyeth was born in 1917 and was the youngest of five children of illustrator and artist Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth and Carolyn Bockius Wyeth. Andrew was home-tutored due to his frail health, and learned art from his father, who inspired his son’s love of rural landscapes, and a sense of romance. Wyeth started drawing at a young age, and with his father’s guidance, he mastered figure study and watercolor, and later learned egg tempera from brother-in-law Peter Hurd. He studied art history on his own, admiring many masters of Renaissance and American painting, especially Winslow Homer. In 1937, at age twenty, Wyeth had his first one-man exhibition of paintings at the Macbeth Gallery in New York City. The entire inventory of his works sold out. Wyeth became famed for the quality of realism and detail found in his art, often creating moody pastorals. Exhibitions of his art, which were shown internationally, often brought in record numbers of museum visitors. Wyeth also went on to receive many honors. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and later received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1990 from President George H.W. Bush, the first artist to receive the award. Wyeth died on January 16, 2009, at the age of 91, in the town of his birth.

This painting will be included in Betsy James Wyeth's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.

Contact us for pricing and inquiries about this work: 203.869.3664 or art@cavaliergalleries.com