Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Andrew Wyeth Groundhog Day

In many Andrew Wyeth prints, there exists a distinguishing bleak atmosphere. He depicts simplistic and rustic scenes that have a mournful, yet poetic, quality to them. The dichotomy in Andrew Wyeth Groundhog Day prints is intriguing. Outside the window is a gloomy scene. The grass is brown and dead, and there lies a fallen tree with jagged edges. The barbed wire fence and metal chain add a harsh touch. This exterior scene has strong connotations of death.

Andrew Wyeth was said to be preoccupied with death, which gave his paintings a morbid essence to them. The room depicted in the painting is, by contrast, surprisingly orderly and colorful. The dishes are delicately placed; the white tablecloth is fresh and crisp-looking. The space is unadorned, but very clean. The wallpaper is flowery. The whole room appears to mock the scene beyond the window sill. The window, which is a recurring motif in many Andrew Wyeth prints, seems to act as a barrier between the inner order and the outer chaos. However, although it separates the two, it also keeps them connected, just as life and order cannot exist without death and chaos.

The Two Sides of Andrew Wyeth

There is a delicacy and strength inherent in every Andrew Wyeth print, a trait that is especially noticeable in the Andrew Wyeth Groundhog Day prints. The fragility of the white dishes is starkly contrasted with the presence of the barbed wire fence and metal chain pictured outside. One aspect conjures the idea of resiliency in the viewer’s mind, while the other represents the threat of breakage. Moreover, the vegetation outside the window will die and be reborn with the changing of the seasons, as the flowers on the wallpaper shall stay in bloom forever and ever. We can assume that Wyeth delights in presenting dichotomies in his works, contrasting weakness and strength, the gentle with the harsh, and order with disorder.

The Title

t is interesting to speculate on the reason why Wyeth decided to title his work “Groundhog Day”. On this holiday, the coming of spring rests on the condition that the groundhog does not see its shadow when it comes out of its burrow. If the day is cloudy and does not cast shadows, the animal judges this to be a sign of spring and will stay above ground. Conversely, if the groundhog comes out and it is sunny, it sees its shadow and takes this as a sign that it is not yet spring and retires back to its burrow for six more weeks. In Andrew Wyeth Groundhog Day prints, it is obviously a sunny day because of the shadows present. This leads viewers to believe that the groundhog will assume six more weeks of dreary, wintry weather. It lends a sense of foreboding to the print. This painting represents another of Wyeth’s famous juxtapositions. The audience is privy to the information that winter is not over, yet the title connotes feelings of hope.

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