Farnsworth Art Museum

Rockland, Maine

(207) 596-6497

Photo courtesy of John Hazeltine


Painting the Elements: Maine Landscapes by N. C. Wyeth


Newell Convers Wyeth is best known for his illustration work, but the paintings he did to satisfy his artistic soul featured the landscape of areas he knew and loved, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and the area around Port Clyde, Maine (known at the time as "Herring Gut"). The show "Painting the Elements: Maine Landscapes by N. C. Wyeth" brings together approximately 10 landscape paintings that show N. C. experimenting with a variety of "modern" painting styles, but always with landscape as the subject matter. The largest piece, an untitled painting of a lobsterman at Mosquito Head, off Martinsville, Maine, was influenced by Russian rayonism, a movement introduced to Wyeth by the critic Christian Brinton. These paintings will be on display in the N. C. Wyeth Gallery in the MBNA Wyeth Center from October 24, 1999 to May, 2000.

Also on view in the Wyeth Center galleries at the Farnsworth Art Museum, in Rockland, ME, this winter are exhibitions featuring Andrew Wyeth and James Wyeth.

The Wyeth Study Center gallery features the work of Andrew Wyeth opening October 16, 1999 to May 2000. The tempera "Maidenhair," completed in 1974, is the focus of this exhibit, supported by eleven preliminary studies. These studies demonstrate the process that the artist undergoes when developing the concept of the final piece. The initial sketch indicates the presence of several figures in a church setting, including several figures that do not appear in the final composition. This exhibit is a unique opportunity to examine the artistic process at each stage of the painting's development.

"Paintings, Props and Costumes: Objects of Inspiration" is an exhibition of the paintings of James Wyeth together with the actual objects and costumes shown in the works. More than just props, many of the objects are imbued with historical and artistic significance. The elegant flannel officer's jacket, reportedly from the War of 1812, made its artistic debut in paintings by Howard Pyle, teacher and mentor to N. C. Wyeth. He gave the jacket to Wyeth who also portrayed it in illustrations such as those for the Hornblower series. N. C. passed it along to his son Andrew, who chose to use it in his surreal self-portrait entitled "Dr. Syn". Continuing its artistic legacy, Andrew gifted the jacket to his son, James, who features it in the 1993 (see above) painting "Meteor Shower". Both the jacket and "Meteor Shower" will be on display in the Cowan Gallery in the MBNA Wyeth Center from October 24, 1999 to May 2000. This exhibit will also feature paintings never before seen in the Wyeth Center, such as "Russian Circus Bear" shown with the bear, "Forget Me Not" shown with the sailor's valentine, and "Connemara" shown with a full-sized horse and carriage.

Some of Andrew Wyeth's newest works, completed this summer, will be the highlight of the exhibition in the Hadlock Gallery beginning November 1999 to May 2000. Many of the pieces create the haunting sense of egression, particularly the tempera "The Dock," which shows a lone figure walking towards the end of a dock at the beginning or end of a journey. Familial ties between sitter and artist are captured in the drybrush "The Only Child".

Article revised 10/23/99.


Read more about the Farnsworth Art Museum.in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/26/10

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