On The Death Of Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth
Andrew Wyeth

Now he is dead, people can begin to understand him.

Even though there is still controversy around Wyeth, only eulogies can be heard at his death.

This time, time has favored Wyeth and he is blessed by his longevity. Unlike  artists who outlived their artistic styles and died poorly, Wyeth began his career against the rising modernity but eventually outlived his opponent critics. By his late years, traditional realism has come back to be an integral part of the art scenes.

Some criticism seems unfair. His excellent drawing skills should not denigrate him as merely an illustrator. His use of sombre limited color palette should not be interpreted as the inability to paint, but as a personal style that distinguishes him from other realistic painters.

When the drawings and watercolors by Andrew Wyeth was exhibited in Butler Museum of American Art more than one year ago, I walked through his pictures and felt he created a world so remote and archaic like a gray-scale fairyland yet so present and imminent that any doubt of its verisimilitude itself casts doubt on one’s own existence.

The world of Wyeth is small, spare, restrained but melancholy. One can challenge its pertinence to the 21th century, but no one will not be convinced by his seriousness and unsurpassed faculty that he encompassed in his works. In an era that abstract, minimalism and other super modern styles dominate the contemporary market, by speaking differently on the paper and canvas, he complemented and enriched the notion of what art is and how it connects to us. And that’s how I will remember him as a master.

Montclair Art Museum is going to exhibit “The Wyeths: Three Generations” from march 8, 2009.

About Hui

Wang Hui lived from 1632 – 1717 and followed in the footprints of his great grandfathers, grandfather, father and uncles and learned painting at a very early age. He was later taught by two contemporary masters, Zhang Ke and Wang Shimin, who taught him to work in the tradition of copying famous Chinese paintings. This is most likely the reason why critics claim that his work is conservative and reflects the Yuan and Song traditions. One critic claimed that “his landscape paintings reflect his nostalgic attachment to classical Chinese aesthetics. Along with the other Wangs, Wang Hui helped to perpetuate the tradition of copying the ancient masters rather than creating original work.

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