Andrew Wyeth, son of N. C. Wyeth, died January 16, 2009
Mr. Wyeth, who was 91, died in his home in Chadds Ford, Pa., after a brief illness...
Andrew Wyeth, son of N.C. Wyeth, was born on July 12, 1917 in Chads Forth, PA. He was the youngest of 5 childern.
His parents were Newell Converse Wyeth and Carolyn (Bockius) Wyeth. His father had moved to Chadds Ford to work with the celebrated illustrator Howard Pyle
Mr. Wyeth was the most famous member of one of America's most renowned artistic families: His father, N.C. Wyeth, was a noted muralist and book illustrator; his son, Jamie, is a highly regarded realist painter.
N.C.Wyeth illustrated such books as Treasure Island and Robin Hood.
One mark of Mr. Wyeth's special status is how often he was summoned to the White House. He was the first artist to receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1963. President Nixon held an exhibition of his paintings and dinner in his honor in 1970. In 1990, he was the first artist to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. President George H.W. Bush, presenting the award, said that Mr. Wyeth's work "caught the heart of America."
He was often underrated by critics as is often the case during an artists lifetime.
Mr. Wyeth's shaky standing with the art establishment was underscored in 1986, when it was revealed he had spent 15 years secretly painting a neighbor, Helga Testorf. News of "the Helga Paintings" made the covers of both Time and Newsweek. Time's art critic, Robert Hughes, voiced the art-world consensus when he mocked "the great Helga hype" and dismissed the resulting exhibition of the artworks as "an avalanche of Styrofoam and saccharin."
Jamie Wyeth once likened his father's work to that of the poet Robert Frost. "At one level, it's all snowy woods and stone walls," the younger Wyeth said. "At another, it's terrifying. He exists at both levels. He is a very odd painter."
His work is set in the vicinity of two places: Chadds Ford, where he was born, grew up, and as an adult lived seven months of the year; and Cushing, Maine, where for most of his life he summered. (Mr. Wyeth later moved nearby, to Benner Island.) Other than a trip to France and England in 1977, he never left the United States, and only rarely did he venture beyond "Wyeth country" at home.
"My work is very subdued in color," he said in a 1997 interview with CBS's "Sunday Morning," noting his fondness for earth tones. Both visually and spiritually, his temperas and watercolors are the painterly equivalent of sepia-toned photography: His barns and fields and no-tech interiors provide a prepatinated sense of the past.
The focus of his paintings, mainly rural and along the Maine coast and in Pennsylvania farm country made him America's most popular living artist and whose 1948 painting "Christina's World" became one of the most famous artworks of the 20th century.