, January 05, 2012
(view all comments by Gold Gato)
Andrew Wyeth Autobiography
Magnificence. Instead of getting a wordy autobiography, Wyeth gives us his paintings and provides the reasoning and associated memories with each work of art. Now, that's a true biography. Thus we see the artist as the artist, not as a biographer wants to be seen.
Wyeth was a Regional Realist and very East Coast American, which also comes across in his descriptions. The reader can look at THE CIDER BARREL, for instance, and discover that good cider needs to be kept filled to the brim. If that information wasn't there, the picture would still stand, but now you view it in a completely different way.
He also brings out his technique, such as not being as neat as his father, N.C. Wyeth, was with his illustrations. His father's death deeply affected Andrew, as seen in WEATHERSIDE. The Olson house is falling apart, but instead of cleaning the artwork, Wyeth remains real, because his father's tragic death reminded him that all things pass and nothing holds still forever. Same with MARSH HAWK, a tempura showing old wagon trains that were later destroyed in a flood. Nothing lasts.
Wyeth can also be humorous, and this is where his descriptions are so apt. STORM AT SEA was painted with most of the lighthouse purposely cut off, which irritated a passing tourist who remarked, "You can see he's an amateur by how he's cut off the top of the lighthouse." Everyone is a critic!
"You're in the lap of the gods-almost like painting with your eyes half-closed. Sometimes I don't want to see too clearly."
This entire book is a treasure, not just for the incredible art but for the honesty and the intimacy that Wyeth provides us. I now want to travel to Maine and Chadds Ford, PA to see the countryside and the people of Andrew Wyeth's world.
Book Season = Winter (snow, dry, colorless)