Friday, April 29, 2016

Andrew Wyeth: An American Icon

Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917- 2009)
Farm Horse, 1954
watercolor on paper, 21  x 28 1/2 in.

Andrew Wyeth was born in 1917, youngest son of the prominent illustrator and artist N.C. Wyeth. Andrew Wyeth began studying art in his teenage years under the guidance of his father, learning to master the mediums of watercolor—and, later, egg tempera—with meticulous technique. Some of 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.

Farm Horse is a study for the tempera titled South Cushing, 1955 (private collection), and depicts a work horse on Frank Crute's farm in South Cushing, Maine. A longtime Maine farmer, Frank Crute represented one of the "salt of the earth" New Englanders to whom Wyeth was often drawn. When Mr. Crute noticed the artist sketching one of his retired horses grazing in an open field, he offered to put the mare in all her trappings for the occasion. The next morning, she posed in her well-worn work harness, with brass buckles polished and gleaming, befitting the pride with which farmers like Crute took in their horses.

While Wyeth’s work is still celebrated today, he enjoyed a thriving artistic career in his lifetime with record-breaking attendance at museum shows around the world, and numerous unique awards received during his lifetime. In 1937, at the age of 20, Wyeth had his resoundingly-successful first one-man exhibition of paintings at the Macbeth Gallery in New York City. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy named Wyeth the first artist to receive the Presidential Freedom Award, the country's highest civilian award. In 1970, he was the first living artist to have an exhibition at the White House—in 2005, through the tireless efforts of First Lady Laura Bush, Wyeth was able to donate his painting, Jupiter, 1998, to the White House in a rare exception to a rule against acquiring works by living artists. President George W. Bush also awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2007.

Wyeth was also the first living American artist to be given a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the National Gallery of Art. In 1977, Wyeth made his first trip to Europe to be inducted into the prestigious French Académie des Beaux-Arts, becoming the first American artist since John Singer Sargent to be elected to the Academy. Three years later he came the first American ever elected to the preeminent British Royal Academy of Art as well as the first living American exhibited there. Wyeth was also the youngest person elected to the American Watercolor Society (1940), American Academy of Arts and Letters (1955), the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1955), and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences (1960).

Today, Wyeth’s work is held in the collections of many major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others. In addition, Wyeth actively supported museums in the places he lived including the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA, and the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, ME.

Contact the gallery for additional information about this work: or 203.869.3664