Friday, January 16, 2009

What You Have to Do is Break All the Rules

Wind from the Sea, 1947

The Trodden Weed, 1951

Andrew Wyeth died today at the age of 91.

He is one of my very favorite artists.
I have a dog-eared old copy of The Art of Andrew Wyeth that I got at a book fair for $5 a couple of years ago, and it is possibly my favorite art book to flip through. I think his work is simple, traditional, forward-thinking, full of emotion, metaphorical, political, and utterly beautiful all at once.

I like this excerpt from the NY Times' article about him:

"Bucking the liberal art establishment, and making a fortune in the process, allowed him to play familiar American roles: the reactionary antiestablishmentarian and the free-thinking individualist who at the same time represented the vox populi. A favorite saying of his was: “What you have to do is break all the rules.” And as bohemianism itself became institutionalized, Wyeth encapsulated the artistic conservatives’ paradoxical idea of cultural disobedience through traditional behavior."

A big source of pain in my life is the relationship I have with my mother. She is someone I love fiercely, and hate fiercely at the same time. She is someone who can make me feel the absolute best and worst about myself, my life, and my choices.
One of the few things that unites us is a shared love of art. Growing up, she hung a framed print of Wyeth's Master Bedroom in the stairway near our kitchen. I know she loved this painting, both for Wyeth's realistic rendering, and tender subject matter. It has become one of my favorites too, not necessarily for the work itself (though I do like it), but for the memories it brings of my mother, days she took me to the art museum as a little girl, and afternoons spent by her side paging through art books, sharing with me her favorites.

Master Bedroom, 1965

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