Saturday, January 17, 2009

Andrew Wyeth

There is a sort of comic remark about 'Frasier has left the building', but it always got my attention. If you think of it, there are these larger than life persons that we admire but never meet that are in the 'building' that represents life in its largest sense. And so today, in honor of
a true individual and a stellar artist, the building is feeling quite empty.

Andrew Wyeth crossed my life in the usual way that famous artists do. I had the same experience as a young person with Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. These top artists were berated, x-rated and celebrated on the covers of popular magazines and newspapers. They were interviewed and then the media would do their usual hatchett jobs and the public at large would think they were odd.

They were odd in the very best way - they lived the life THEY created, and on this planet that is a tall order as the pressure to conform is subtle and constant.

I celebrate the life of Andrew Wyeth. I have been to Chadds Ford several times where he was a child and lived in the shadow of his famous father N.C. Wyeth until he grew into his own man and then some. Of course the Wyeth legacy is also shared by Andy's son Jamie who is a superb artist as well. Upon going there, one now gets to go to the home and studio that N.C. had for his family.
N.C. had the studio built just up a little rise behind his home. As you may know, he died in the middle of his life, along with his grandson when the car he was driving stalled on train tracks. The studio has been left by the family exactly as it was when he was last in it. His palette and the last piece he was working on are still there - looking deserted and not a little forlorn.

Going to Chadds Ford and the Brandywine Museum is a more spiritual experience than most such visits. It has a human quality because it was a mill at one time, and now is the wonderful human-scale place where one can visit its several floors and see works by all three of these amazing men as well as that of some other artists. On one visit, I had the extraordinary experience of getting a tour of Andy's latest show given by his granddaughter Victoria who made it so special and even humorous. She, not being an artist, did her best to be sure to communicate what it was that her Grandfather wanted understood. It was really great.

Now, as has been said of another major figure in our history, he belongs to the ages. But to me it is the empty building and knowing that he has completed his last painting. At least for now.
Who knows where such a being may show up next? Keep the door open......


Don Gray said...

Lynne, what a moving and beautiful tribute. Thank you for your wonderful perspective on the value and influence of such great artists on all our lives.

Patricia said...

Nicely written Lynne. Wyeth was an artist of the greatest magnitude.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I hope to visit NC Wyeth's studio someday. Wonderful artists, all.