Monday, January 19, 2009

RIP Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth died the other day. He was a big influence on me, partly because of his style, partly because of his technique, partly because of his attitude, and partly because he was so derided by much of the art establishment. They considered him more of an illustrator rather than a fine artist. But I thought him a modern master. He painted frequently in egg tempera, a medium used in iconography. In reading his biography a few years ago, and some of his interviews and other writings, I thought he had an amazing grasp on the medium and its possibilities. His watercolors were also stunning. That is the hardest medium to paint in, and he - in just a few strokes - could create an iconic piece of art. Only a true master could do that.

I appreciated the way he spent his entire life exploring the Chadd's Ford countryside and the areas in Maine where he painted. To dedicate yourself to something so "ordinary" (mid-Atlantic American countryside) - and to really squeeze the "juice" out of it is quite profound. And to pull such amazing art out of something that so many of us take for granted is absolutely magical. I had always hoped to meet him someday, but I guess that isn't going to happen now. My cousin, the artist Noel Edwards, met him a few times so I suppose I will have to live vicariously through him in that regard. He will be missed. If you ever get up to Chadd's Ford go to the Wyeth museum, go see their home where they grew up, and all of that stuff. It is well worth it. And get a coffee table book of some of his work.

No comments: