Friday, November 19, 2010
Fine Arts Friday: The Chadds Ford Wyeths
Chadds Ford Hills, Newell Convers Wyeth
N.C. Wyeth was the father of Andrew Wyeth and grandfather of Jamie Wyeth. His son's work is noted for its muted palette, while N.C. Wyeth's paintings radiate color and atmospheric effect. If you have the opportunity, visit the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, home to many paintings by all the Wyeths.
At the museum, which I visited last year, the effects upon me of the works of N. C. Wyeth and his son were quite different. Many of Andrew Wyeth's paintings I found deeply moving, especially those with the layers of dry tempera rising from the surface of the canvas. The experience is almost religious; despite the apparent simplicity of his subject, its essence is drawn out through the paint signifying a whole world to us, each leaf seeming to drip with the cosmic significance of creation.
N.C. Wyeth's paintings awe in a different way--their human poignancy and the placement and gestures of the figures in his paintings, many of them used as illustrations, draw us into their world. We are caught up in the action; we are dying to know what happens next. The fulsomeness and beauty of the drama, surroundings, and coloration prompt in us a near reverential appreciation of both the fragility and the richness of life.
So in praise of the fall and the Wyeths, here is a painting by N.C. Wyeth of his beloved Chadd Ford Hills, for which I have no words at all.