Andrew Wyeth, often referred to as the “painter of the people” due to his popularity with the public, died early this morning after a brief illness in his home outside Philadelphia. He was 91.
“Andy Wyeth died in his sleep peacefully at 4:25 today,” Phyllis Wyeth, the wife of Andrew’s son, Jamie, told the News Journal.
Andrew, the son of legendary illustrator N.C. Wyeth, Wyeth has maintained a realist painting style for over fifty years, saying that his work stood for something “discarded in the American country. I have an American viewpoint.”
Andrew began painting watercolour studies of the rocky coast and the sea in Port Clyde, Maine. Working primarily in watercolours and egg tempera, Andrew often used shades of brown and grey to create a subdued tone in his work.
“With watercolour, you can pick up the atmosphere, the temperature, the sound of snow shifting through the trees or over the ice of a small pond or against a windowpane,” Wyeth once told Thomas Hoving, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Watercolour perfectly expresses the free side of my nature.”
Andrew achieved success in his 1920’s with watercolor shows at the Macbeth Gallery in New York, and was featured on the cover of American Artist by age 25. He married Betsy James in 1940. They spent the summers with the Wyeth family in Port Clyde, Maine, and rented the old schoolhouse studio from N.C. in Chadd’s Ford. They have two children: Nicholas, a successful art dealer, and James, a well-known artist.
Known to his family and friends as “Andy”, Wyeth kept painting until the end of his live.
“I don’t consider myself a realist,” Wyeth told the AP. “I suppose you could call it surrealism. I paint what I feel strongly about.”