Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, 1917-2009

I love to wander into the Maine Room at the Portland Museum of Art, mostly because of the work of both Andrew and NC Wyeth. My favorite painting, Raven's Grove depicts a cache of broken shells beneath a spruce tree, with just a glimpse of the sea's edge in the distance. It so elegantly captures the small details of wild life on the Maine islands, much more so than the typical beauty shot painting of the coastline. There is an intimate feel to it, and a sense of an artist comfortable in his own surroundings, and the darkness within those places. The following quote from Wyeth has been much-used in his memorials, but so clearly describes his attraction to the bones of the world...

"I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future — the timelessness of the rocks and the hills — all the people who have existed there," he once said. "I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape — the loneliness of it — the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show.
''I think anything like that -- which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone -- people always feel is sad. Is it because we've lost the art of being alone?''
Andrew Wyeth was reclusive, I certainly never met him outside of his paintings. But he will be missed, here in New England, and I wish him peace. More of his work can be viewed here:

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