Andrew Wyeth: Introduction (03:06)
Hear reactions to Wyeth's work. He was among the top artists of the 1960s, but came under criticism for popularity and financial success. Art historian Wanda Corn recalls her first impressions of Wyeth and his wife Betsy in the 1970s.
Inheriting an Artistic Tradition (02:54)
Wyeth only lived in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and Port Clyde and Cushing, Maine. His father N.C. trained him to be an artist from childhood. N.C. had moved to Chadds Ford to train with classic illustrator Howard Pyle in the Brandywine Valley.
N.C. Wyeth (04:29)
N.C. became successful illustrating Scribner's classic books, and longed to be a painter. However, he prioritized family and fostered his children's creativity by stimulating their imaginations. Andrew recalls his frightening version of St. Nick and playing make-believe in the woods.
Interest in World War I (02:37)
Andrew was fascinated by N.C.'s collection of WWI stereo cards and action figures; "The Big Parade" influenced him in terms of visual composition.
Wyeth's Education and Stylistic Development (04:45)
Jamie Wyeth recalls his father's love of winter landscapes and discusses how his work diverged from that of his grandfather. As a teenager, Andrew studied drawing and painting with N.C. Hear why he preferred tempura to N.C.’s medium of oil paints.
Marriage and Business Partnership (04:38)
Hear the story of how Andrew and Betsy met. After their wedding, Betsy realized she came second to Andrew's art. She managed the financial side of his work and contributed her visual expertise and ideas.
Career Launch (03:49)
Betsy encouraged Andrew not to become an illustrator, against N.C.'s advice. Their marriage gave Andrew freedom to pursue his own ideas. Andrew's first show was at 20; N.C. was proud of him but also envious of his talent and success.
Losing N.C. (02:40)
Andrew's father was killed in a car accident. Artist and neighbor Karl J. Kuerner III recalls Andrew's visual description of visiting his father's body. In an archive interview, Andrew discusses how the loss gave meaning to his work.
Kuerner Family Farm (04:53)
Wyeth painted his neighbors Karl and Anna over fifty years, observing them and documenting them at home. Karl reminded him of his father and was a German WWI veteran; Wyeth found his war stories and hunting activities fascinating.
Maine Works (01:45)
Wyeth found the Northeast harsh but fundamental; he was drawn to its simplicity. He began painting fisherman Walter Anderson as a young man and they became friends.
Befriending the Olsons (07:23)
Wyeth painted the adult siblings in Maine for decades. Betsy had known Christina since childhood; hear her account of taking Wyeth to meet Christina and Alvaro. He focused on their humanity, rather than their poverty or on Christina's disability.
"Christina's World" (02:20)
Art historians discuss Wyeth's iconic painting of Christina Olson.
African-American Subjects (05:24)
Wyeth's childhood friend David Lawrence introduced him to Chadds Ford's African-American community. See his portraits of individuals, including Tom Clark, James Loper, and Willard Snowden. He depicted them as friends without judgment or political statement.
Criticism from the Contemporary Art World (03:43)
Wyeth was accepted as a magic realist; the MOMA purchased "Christina's World." However, as abstract art grew popular, his work was considered old-fashioned, regional, and too accessible.
Wyeth "Curse" (02:36)
Despite a large audience and many collectors, Wyeth was criticized as a reactionary realist. In 1959, the Philadelphia Museum of Art purchased "Groundhog Day" for a high price—creating resentment among bohemian artists. He took bad reviews personally but continued painting.
Working from Memory (03:57)
Wyeth manipulated reality in his paintings and admired abstract expressionists. Kathleen A. Foster discusses his abstract and surrealist qualities. Joyce Hill Stoner argues that he removes the atmosphere from his work. He judged composition by viewing paintings upside down.
"Groundhog Day" (02:38)
Wyeth first sketched the Kuerners' kitchen from memory. He painted Anna in the composition for years until omitting her image for Karl's place setting. He also replaced a guard dog with a jagged log.
Popularity in Japan (02:47)
Curator Shuji Takahashi discusses how Wyeth's perception of life and death and portrayal of the transiency of nature relates to Japan's culture and aesthetic.
"Thin Ice" (02:24)
Takahashi analyzes Wyeth's work in terms of the Japanese concept of the transience of nature.
Helga Paintings (08:05)
Wyeth's secret collection drew media coverage upon release; he was accused of a staging a publicity stunt. Model and muse Helga Testorf says Wyeth painted the series for himself. Hear how Betsy accepted them and continued supporting her husband.
Recent Recognition (05:19)
Wyeth’s work was rediscovered and reinterpreted in the early 2000s, before his death in 2009. The Brandywine River Museum of Art exhibits a seven decade retrospective; visitors are often emotionally moved. Hear Wyeth's own thoughts on his art.
Credits: Wyeth (04:49)
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