Saturday, July 9, 2022

Wyeth Drawings on Display

Undercover Study by Andrew Wyeth, 1970, pencil

It's a rare treat to be able to see drawings and studies by members of the Wyeth clan.


N.C. Wyeth, seated nude, charcoal, 1900.

The art produced by the Wyeth lineage—N.C., Andrew, Carolyn, and Jamie—grows out of a tradition of academic drawing and close observation. 

In the case of Andrew, Carolyn, and Jamie, it wasn't an atelier or an art school setting where they learned these skills, but something passed down privately through the family.

Andrew Wyeth, charcoal portrait of Martin Leonard, 1936

The Fenimore Art Museum is currently displaying these mostly unpublished and unseen drawings. They're divided into several categories; academic renderings, figure studies, anatomy drawings, observations of the model, and animal sketches.

  N.C. Wyeth, Oisin in the Land of Youth (composition drawing), 1940, graphite

Victoria Wyeth, Andrew's granddaughter, curated the show with the help of her uncle Jamie. 

They offer the benefit of an insider's perceptions. They recall, for example, that Carolyn would walk around in  studio wearing her father's knickers, which were eccentric even in N.C.'s day.

Jamie Wyeth, pig drawing, 1969

There are a lot of kinds of observational drawings on view, so the art student or practicing artist will enjoy the behind-the-scenes glimpses. 

However, I wish there were more imaginative drawings, thumbnails, process pieces and a few finished paintings that would have shown the complete evolution of an idea from first concept to the end result. 

Andrew Wyeth, Undercover Study, 1970, watercolor (included)


Drawn from Life: Three Generations of Wyeth Figure Studies is at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY through September 5


broker12 said...

I especially noticed the sketch of the pig. It jarred me because I remember reading a comment from Andrew Loomis in his writings . . . on light/lightfall, I think . . . that even a pig could be high art if lighted and painted properly.

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

How wonderful to see the sketches, thank you for sharing, James...I love finished art but there is something so alive about these studies! Some years back the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City had a Wyeth show, with all generations represented. Many of the works were huge egg temperas, and I was astounded by the tiny, patient brushwork...