Andrew Newell Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth was born on July 12, 1917 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. His father, N.C. Wyeth, was an illustrator and artist who taught Andrew about art for long periods at a time. His mother, Carolyn Bockius, had 5 children, Andrew being the youngest. His brother Nathaniel was an inventor and his brother Henriette was an artist. Much later he had a son, Jamie Wyeth who grew up to become an artist just like his father. His family owned a summer home in Cushing, Maine, which became one of Andrew’s most favorite subjects in his paintings later on.

When Andrew was growing up as a kid, he was tutored at home by his parents. As a child, Andrew became an amateur at watercolor and had deep feelings for landscapes and his family history. He enjoyed reading, poetry, human relationship with nature, music and movies. In 1937, when he was 20 years old, Andrew had his first one-man exhibition of watercolors at Macbeth Gallery in New York City. People now saw his true talent in his paintings and they were quickly sold out.

Sadly, in October 1945 Andrew’s father and three year old nephew were killed because their car stalled when they were on the train tracks near home. Not long after this tradgity his art style changed into a more developed and long-lasting style. The colors in his paintings became more soft and restrained. His paintings were becoming more realistic and there were more depictions of emotion in his art work.

He started to paint his neighbors, Anna and Karl Kuener. The Kueners and the farm they owned became major subjects in Andrew’s paintings for almost thirty years. His style stayed over all consistent for the next fifty years. Normally, he created multiple studies on a subject using pencil or very loosely brushed watercolor before starting his final painting. These complete paintings were made with watercolor, dry brush, or egg tempera. His artwork was increasing value and he was becoming more famous.

In 1986, he made a series of 240 studies of his neighbor, Prussian born Helga Testorf. They were painted from 1971 to 1985. Andrew and Helga never told their spouses what they’d been up to. Andrew’s artwork of Helga was first on the cover of the Time Magazine. The caption said “Andrew Wyeth’s Stunning Secret/ The Helga Paintings: A Portfolio.” These works have been in the National Gallery of Art since 1987.

Many consider Andrew to have been a representative artist. His work contrasted with abstract paintings of that time. People seem to have been heavily critical of his work because of it. A man named Peter Schjedlahl once said, “Formulaic stuff not very effective even as illustrational realism.” Others think that the critics dislike his paintings because Andrew is appealing to people based on his representation in nature.

Andrew’s paintings contain deep emotions, underlying abstraction, and they contain symbolic objects. He was well known for his skill at mediums of watercolors and he never liked to use traditional oil paints. Andrew Wyeth has paintings all over. They are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the White House, and many more places.


In the year 1963, he was the first painter ever to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from John F. Kennedy. In 1977, he became the first American artist since John Sergeant to be given the election to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. He became the first living American born artist to be elected into Britain’s Royal Academy in 1980. In 1987 he was presented with a D.F.A. from Bates College. On November 9, 1988, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. This medal is the highest honor bestowed upon U.S. civilians by the Legislature.

Andrew Wyeth has been also known as the “Painter of the People”. His most famous painting would be Christina’s World. It is part of the collection in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Christina’s world was painted in 194