This summer the Seattle Art Museum
(SAM) will present Andrew Wyeth: Remembrance, a tribute to one of Americas most celebrated artists who passed away earlier this year. On view June 25 through October 18, 2009, at SAM downtown, the exhibition focuses on seven paintings that span Wyeths career and show his favorite subjects: his wife Betsy and the land around their farm in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania; his neighbor Karl Kuerner; and Kuerners nurse Helga Testorf. Ms. Testorf was Wyeths favorite model and the subject of the famous series of Helga pictures, watercolor and tempera portraits made over an eighteen year period.
Organized by Patricia Junker, SAMs Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art, the seven paintings are from private collections and range from the 1950s to the 1980s. They include two early works: Brown Swiss (1957) and Distant Thunder (1961) along with five Helga paintings: Black Velvet (1972), Farm Road (1979), Cape Coat (1982), Overflow (1978) and Braids (1979), one of his most beloved paintings.
The people and places that Wyeth brought to life in his paintings are full of deeply personal associations for him, said Junker. This focused exhibition allows us to mark the late artist's extraordinary career, to see a concentration of great Wyeth paintings from private collections that are otherwise never on public view, and to gain appreciation for Wyeth's choice of subjects and his brilliant manner of execution.
His paintings conjure his remembrances, he once said, of childhood sensations and a life lived wholly within the circumscribed worlds of rural Chadds Ford and Cushing, Maine, the two places where Wyeths life and art were centered.
Born in Chadds Ford, Pa. in 1917, Wyeth became a force in twentieth century American art. Wyeth received his artistic training from his father, the renowned artist/illustrator Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth. He is famous for his tight style of dry brush painting and his deeply personal subject matter. Dedicated to a characteristic realism in both style and approach to subject matter Wyeth finds resonance and universal meaning in the most commonplace details of the world around him. In 1939 Wyeth married Betsy James. They had two sons, Nicholas and James. James is also a painter and a third-generation artist in the family.