Wyeth, Andrew Newell (wĪˈəth) [key], 1917–2009, American painter, b. Chadds Ford, Pa. Wyeth's work has been enormously popular, critically acclaimed, and sometimes severely criticized since his first one-man show in 1937. He was trained by his father, the noted illustrator N. C. Wyeth, but he rejected the action-filled storytelling work of his father in favor of a quieter range of subjects and treatments. The rustic places and ordinary people of Chadds Ford and Cushing, Maine, were his principal subjects. They are portrayed in a meticulous, naturalistic style, often in watercolor or in the matte textures made possible by the use of egg tempera, in a somber palette where browns and grays predominate, and in moods frequently tinged with melancholy. The best-known of Wyeth's paintings, the bleak and iconic Christina's World (1948), is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. His "Helga" pictures, a large group of intimate portraits of a neighbor, painted over many years, were first shown publicly in 1986. His son, Jamie Wyeth (James Browning Wyeth), 1946–, b. Wilmington, Del., also is a well-known realist artist. The Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford has an outstanding collection of the works of all three generations of Wyeths.
See his autobiography (1995); biographies by R. Meryman (1968, 1991, and 1996); G. Logsdon, Wyeth People (1971); W. M. Corn, ed., The Art of Andrew Wyeth (1973); B. J. Wyeth, Wyeth at Kuerners (1976) and Christina's World (1982); J. H. Duff, An American Vision: Three Generations of Wyeth Art (1987); J. Wilmerding, Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures (1987); A. Knutson et al., Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic (2005).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.