Published by National Gallery of Art, Washington/D.A.P.. Text by Nancy K. Anderson, Charles Brock.
One of Andrew Wyeth's most important paintings, "Wind from the Sea" (1947), is also the artist's first full realization of the window as a recurring subject in his art. Wyeth returned to windows during the course of the next 60 years, producing more than 300 remarkable works that explore both the formal and conceptual richness of the subject. Absent from these spare, elegant, almost abstract paintings is the narrative element inevitably associated with Wyeth's better-known figural compositions. In 2014 the National Gallery of Art, Washington, presents an exhibition of a select group of these deceptively realistic works, window paintings that are in truth skillfully manipulated compositions centering on the visual complexities posed by the transparency, beauty and formal structure of windows. In its exclusive focus on paintings without human subjects, this catalogue offers a new approach to Wyeth's work and represents the first time that his non-figural works have been published as a group since the 1990s. The authors explore Wyeth's fascination with windows--their formal structure and metaphorical complexity. In essays that address links with the poetry of Robert Frost and the paintings of Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler and other artistic peers, the authors consider Wyeth's statement that he was, in fact, an abstract painter. American painter Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) lived his entire life in his birthplace of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and his summer home in mid-coast Maine. His seven-decade career was spent painting the land and people that he knew and cared about. Renowned for his tempera "Christina's World" (1948), Wyeth navigated between artistic representation and abstraction in a highly personal way.
Selected and Arranged by Richard Meryman from Recorded Conversations with the Artist, 1964-2007
Published by National Gallery of Art, Washington/D.A.P..
Richard Meryman began an enduring friendship with Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009) while on the job as a Life magazine editor in 1964. For Meryman, this unique friendship yielded more than four decades of recorded conversations with Wyeth, his family, friends and neighbors in Wyeth’s homes in Pennsylvania and Maine. Meryman notes that, whether during formal interviews, shared meals, car rides or long walks, “Wyeth applied to himself the same sensitive understandings that fueled his art. A lifelong realist who swam against the art world tide of modernism, he showed himself to be fundamentally a painter of emotion--of people and objects that somehow embodied his memories and imagination, triggering feelings inexpressible in words, but recognized by viewers.” In five skillfully crafted monologues composed by Meryman around key themes in Wyeth’s work, we hear the voices of not only the artist but also his subjects, neighbors, relatives and critics. The book includes reproductions of the works of art discussed by Wyeth in his own words, as well as previously unpublished photographs of Wyeth’s studio taken in 2009. Richard Meryman is the author of the acclaimed biography Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life (1996).
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Text by Laura Hoptman.
In 1948 Andrew Wyeth produced what would become one of the most iconic paintings in American art: a desolate landscape featuring a woman lying in a field, that he called “Christina’s World.” The woman in the painting, Christina Olson, lived in Cushing, Maine, where Wyeth and his wife kept a summer house. She suffered from polio, and was paralyzed from the waist down; Wyeth was moved to portray her when he saw her one day crawling through the field towards her house. “Christina’s World” was to become one of the most well-loved and most scorned works of the twentieth century, igniting heated arguments about parochialism, sentimentality, kitsch and elitism that have continued to dog the art world and Wyeth’s own reputation, even after the artist’s death in 2009. An essay by MoMA curator Laura Hoptman revisits the genesis of the painting, discussing Wyeth’s curious focus, over the course of his career, on a deliberately delimited range of subjects and exploring the mystery that continues to surround the enigmatic painting.