Andrew Wyeths’s death has brought to mind the controversy surrounding his paintings. He was lambasted by critics for his bland style. Critics said of his work “They are just sort of colored drawings, illustrated dramas that enable people who don’t like art to fantasize about not living in the twentieth century.” Art critic Dave Hickey mentioned that Wyeth’s paintings were colorless “Mud and baby poop.” His paintings did appeal to middle class Americans so people who argue the worthiness of his paintings also include class arguments.
Some of his spicier moments came later in his career. In 1985 a series of over 200 paintings that he had done of Helga Testorf was released. The drama surrounding The Helga Paintings was a low level attempt at soap opera drama. It was said that Andrew did this series of paintings without his wife Betsy knowing about the time he was spending and that there was a romantic connection between the artist and model. Things were put to rest when it was found out the paintings had not been a secret (the pictures had been in circulation and reproduced since 1979), and Betsy said of any accusation of romance “It’s a bunch of crap.”
The New Normal Rockwell
Maybe there was a little bitterness considering the amount of attention he was getting. In 1976 he was the first living American artist who was given a featured retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Because of his popularity he received a lot of attention and press, his importance in the art world could have soared on popularity alone and the going price for his paintings was in the millions.
According to officials at the Brandywine River in Pennsylvania Andrew Wyeth passed away in his sleep. More information on Andrew Wyeths’ death can be found at: //www.cnn.com/2009/US/01/16/andrew.wyeth.obit/index.html
- By Dan Woods
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