Farnsworth Art Museum

Rockland, ME




Andrew Wyeth Selections


The Wyeth Center at the Farnsworth Art Museum will open the Hadlock and Study Center galleries with an exhibition of selected works from the Wyeth Collection, beginning January 28, 2001 and continuing through May 20, 2001.

Andrew Wyeth (b. 1917) made Maine his summer home in the 1930's. First introduced to the landscape by his father, N. C. Wyeth, he would continue the seasonal excursion with his wife, Betsy James, down to the present. Opening in 1998, the Wyeth Center established a permanent home for the Maine work of Andrew Wyeth from the personal collection of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth. The Wyeth Center is a testament to Andrew Wyeth's importance in American art and the Farnsworth Art Museum's dedication to Maine's role in the history of American art.

"Andrew Wyeth: Selections" is intended to offer a broad view of Andrew Wyeth's Maine work both technically and chronologically. Many of the works in this exhibition are well-known locations from the mid-coast region, but in their simplicity they deliver a complexity of moods and emotions that could easily go unrecognized. Andrew Wyeth speaks of Maine with a unique eye: "Maine to me is almost like going to the surface of the moon. I feel things are just hanging on the surface and that it's all going to blow away. In Maine, everything seems to be dwindling at terrific speed... Up in Maine I feel it's all dry bones and desiccated sinew."

His inspirations have stemmed from the most familiar sites on the coast of Maine -- mussel shells gently laid out on the beach -- to the most fantastical, a skeleton in antique garb perched on lookout in a re-creation of a ship's stateroom in "Dr. Syn" (1981). His technical mastery reveals the fine grains of sand on the seashore, and the viewer is almost able to smell the salty air. In "Southern Comfort" (1987), a strong light fills a room and a dog rests quietly on a bench, so still that we could almost hear his breath. Outside a stanchion of fishing nets billow delicately contrasting the hardened land and stabbing shadows in the tempera "Pentecost" (1965). His portraits of the people and landscape are revealing and transfer us into a secret place. It is Wyeth's fantasies in everyday people and places that transcends the immediate image and allows the viewer's imagination to roam.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/30/11

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