Andrew Wyeth has died. He died in his sleep at the age of 91, at home.
I began defining myself as an artist at the age of twelve. Around that age, I started paying attention to living artists. Andrew Wyeth was one of the first artists I encountered, (I think I saw a print in an adult-friend’s study), and as a result I became obsessed with drawing, (line, form, shape and mass, perspective, space, proportion and scale, light and pattern). I taught myself to draw everyday objects and local scenes, and as a result I learned to really look at the world closely – to really see. I will always be grateful to Andy Wyeth for inspiring me to learn those basic skills.
Although I was impressed with Andrew Wyeth’s artistic skills, (much in the way you might be impressed with a musicians chops), what held my interest then, and now, was the emotional content of his work. Whenever I have read criticism of Wyeth, I have always felt that the critic was missing the deeper content of Wyeth’s work due to arrogance or stubbornness or plain old ignorance.
I believe that Andrew Wyeth is as modern as any artist of our time. Criticism of Wyeth based on his chosen style, medium and content grows more hollow with the passing years. Some of Wyeth’s work was quite abstract. At times Wyeth was criticized for his illustrative skill, (and unapologetic use of those skills), and dismissed as a mere draftsman. To me this has always seemed simple-minded and foolish. I would never dismiss a musician based on his/her skill. I think great art, no matter the form, usually involves both skill, (sometimes described as craftsmanship), and vision.
I can not imagine a world with only classical music, or jazz or pop. And I can not imagine art with only one mode of expression.
Thank you for all you gave us Andrew Wyeth. Rest in peace.