Patricia Junker and Audrey Lewis; With contributions by Henry Adams, Karen Baumgartner, Christopher B. Crosman, Mary Adam Landa, Christine B. Podmaniczky, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Joyce Hill Stoner, and Shuji Takahashi, Chadds Ford, 2017.
Hardcover, 240 pp., 170 color illus.
This major retrospective catalogue explores the impact of time and place on the work of beloved American painter Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009). While previous publications have mainly analyzed Wyeth’s work thematically, this publication places him fully in the context of the long 20th century, tracing his creative development from World War I through the new millennium.
Published to coincide with the centenary of Wyeth’s birth, the book looks at four major chronological periods in the artist’s career: Wyeth as a product of the interwar years, when he started to form his own “war memories” through military props and documentary photography he discovered in his father’s art studio; the change from his “theatrical” pictures of the 1940s to his own visceral responses to the landscape around Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and his family’s home in Maine; his sudden turn, in 1968, into the realm of erotic art, including a completely new assessment of Wyeth’s “Helga pictures”—a series of secret, nude depictions of his neighbor Helga Testorf—within his career as a whole; and his late, self-reflective works, which includes the discussion of his previously unknown painting entitled Goodbye, now believed to be Wyeth’s last work.