Art History: The Wyeths: N.C., Andrew, And Jamie

The Wyeth family name is an important one in the art world. Read on for an overview of their works and a list of the museums where the paintings, portraits and illustrations can be seen.

With talented family members spanning three generations, the Wyeth name is an important one in the art world. N.C. Wyeth, along with his son Andrew, and his grandson Jamie, are all well known for their extraordinary-- and vastly different-- styles. Here is an overview of the famous works by this talented trio:

N.C. Wyeth-- Schooled by the famous illustrator Howard Pyle in the early 1900's, the elder Wyeth became best known as an illustrator himself. His bold, brilliant style is easily recognized even today.

N.C. Wyeth is best known for his action-filled illustrations for such classic books as "Treasure island," "Last of the Mohicans" and "Robin Hood". But Wyeth did more than just illustrate children's books. He was also commissioned to do illustrations for popular magazines such as "The Saturday Evening Post" and "Scribner's", as well as a mural for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

He was a gifted painter as well, although rarely credited as one. "The Giant", a serene painting that contrasts from his usual style, depicts a group of children on the beach, staring in awe at an image of a giant man in the clouds. Wyeth is also known for his touching portrayal of Santa Claus in the painting "Old Kris" and for a lonely Indian canoeing in "In the Crystal Depths". "Mowing", a portrait of a field worker accepting a cold drink from a young girl, is another beautiful and moving painting and is one of N.C. Wyeth's finest works.

While the world always loved his work, Wyeth often thought of himself as merely an illustrator and not as a serious artist. Sadly, he died suddenly in 1945 without ever truly realizing his own great talent.

Where to see some of N.C. Wyeth's Work:

Sommerville Manning Museum, Greenville DE

Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford PA

Portland Museum of Art, Maine

National Museum of American Illustration, New Port Rhode Island

Andrew Wyeth-- Undoubtedly the most well- known Wyeth, a sickly young Andrew was schooled at home by his father, N.C. Wyeth. Andrew Wyeth is famous for his realistic style-- and his penchant for paintings featuring his family and friends. Unlike his father's bold and colorful oil paintings, Andrew's egg tempera works feature neutral colors and mainly portray people and places from his hometown in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and Maine.

One of Andrew's most famous paintings, 1948's "Christina's World" is actually a depiction of a crippled family friend crawling up the hill to her family's farmhouse. He also did a series of pictures featuring his Chadds Ford neighbors, The Kuerner's. The well known "Evening at Kuerner's" is a portrait of the Kuerner family farm house.

Andrew Wyeth is known for his simplistic portrayal of common objects. He has done many still life paintings and scenes from nature, including "Waterfall", "May Day" and "Weather Side". "Master Bedroom", another famous painting by Wyeth, features a dog napping on a bed.

Wyeth shocked the art world in the mid 1980's when he revealed a secret collection of paintings he had done of a woman named Helga. Even Wyeth's wife, Betsy, had been unaware of the hidden series, which featured dozens of paintings, many of them nudes. The scandal created a buzz throughout the art world. Today, Wyeth still paints at his Chadds Ford studio.

Where to see some of Andrew Wyeth's work:

Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford PA

Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland Maine

Portland Museum of Art, Maine

Jamie Wyeth-- The son of Andrew Wyeth and grandson of N.C. Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth was tutored early on by his famous family and was a sensation by the time he was 20 years old. Jamie Wyeth has a style all his own. His famous "Portrait of Pig" is an enormous depiction of a family pet pig. In addition to "Portrait of Pig", Jamie Wyeth has done many other portraits featuring animals including "Newfoundland", "Night Chickens" and "Angus".

He is well known for his portraits of famous people as well-- from his portrait of John F. Kennedy to paintings of Rudolf Nureyev and Andy Warhol. His works also often feature his wife, Phyllis.

Like his father, Jamie Wyeth finds inspiration in the simplest of subject matter. "Island Library" features a row of Adirondack chairs on a lawn. "Bale" is a gorgeous portrait of a bale of hay. He also tackles more serious subject matter. "Dawn, the White House 2000" is a striking portrait of the presidential mansion. His stunning work, "September 11" depicts the 9/11 heroes at work. Jamie Wyeth still actively paints and divides his time between homes in Pennsylvania and Maine.

Where to see some of Jamie Wyeth's work:

Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford PA

John F. Kennedy Library, Boston MA

Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington DE

National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.

Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland Maine

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