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Andrew Wyeth: The Local Connection


by Stephen Becker 16 Jan 2009

Andrew Wyeth, one of the most debated artists of the last century, died Friday in his sleep. I’m not going to even attempt to sum up his storied career in this space (I’ll leave that to the experts). But I did want to mention that the Dallas Museum of Art has four of his works […]

CTA TBD

Andrew Wyeth, one of the most debated artists of the last century, died Friday in his sleep. I’m not going to even attempt to sum up his storied career in this space (I’ll leave that to the experts).

But I did want to mention that the Dallas Museum of Art has four of his works in the permanent collection: the pencil-on-paper drawing Beckie King (1946), the watercolor Jim Smalley, Fisherman (1937) and the tempera painting That Gentleman (1960), which the museum also has a preparatory sketch for. That Gentleman and the sketch are currently on display; the sketch was actually a gift to the museum from Wyeth after the museum acquired the painting.

The man who until recently was the curator for those works is Dr. William Rudolph. Dr. Rudolph, formerly the Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the DMA, left the museum in mid-December to become the curator of American art for Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts.

Over e-mail, Dr. Rudolph had this to say about Wyeth:

“Andrew Wyeth is one of America’s most beloved painters, and has been for sixty years. He was an overnight success at his first solo show and people have loved him for his incredibly detailed, very intimate views of his world and the people in it. That Gentleman is a portrait of Wyeth’s neighbor and friend and is marked by the careful precision of draftsmanship and mood of intimate introspection that characterize his best work.”

That Gentleman and its sketch are on view in the American galleries on the fourth floor.

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  • Sarah

    I love “Christina’s World,” which is probably his most famous work and is displayed at MOMA in NYC.

  • Bill Marvel

    A lot of nonsense is being written about Wyeth by art critics who can’t place him in the modernist canon, or who are put off by the fact that the public loved his works. He was no less, or more, modernist than that modernist darling, Hopper. And the public who loved his works often misread them.
    Wyeth only seemed to be a realist. A careful study of “That Gentleman” will show how much he distorted the figure to fit the horizontal picture plane. (Those thighs are much too long and placed at an impossible angle; and where does his butt rest on the chair? And why the insistence on a horizontal formart?) In fact, none of Wyeth’s works were conventionally realistic in the sense that they faithfully reproduced what the eye might see. Like all great artists, Wyeth saw with the mind’s eye. His themes are death and regeneration tgrough nature, an ancient American preoccupation. Think Robert Frost.