Farnsworth Art Museum

Rockland, ME




The Maine Influence: Selected Works by N. C. Wyeth / The Maine Influence: Selected Works by James Wyeth


Two related exhibitions on view in the Wyeth Center, "The Maine Influence: Selected Works by N. C. Wyeth" and "The Maine Influence: Selected Works by James Wyeth" explore the work and life of N. C. Wyeth and James Wyeth and the different ways living and working in Maine affected both. Maine was and continues to be a creative stimulus to these two artists, but often for very different reasons.

Landscape painting, for Newell Convers Wyeth, was a means to explore many different modern theories and techniques free from the pressures of illustration work. Every summer, beginning in 1920, N. C. Wyeth and his family would vacation in Port Clyde, Maine. Here he experimented with new bright exciting colors and imagery and scale bordering on fantasy. He was free to take time to explore his ideas fully, often taking months, not weeks, to complete a painting, and occasionally painting several different versions of the same scene in different sizes or media. "Portrait of a Young Artist," an image of his son Andrew painting on the Maine coast, and "Bright and Fair," the Wyeths' summer home in Port Clyde, will be two of the works on view in this show. (left: N. C. Wyeth, Bright and Fair-Eight Bells, 1936, oil on canvas, Museum purchase)

Not merely a summer retreat for James Wyeth, Maine's wildness and isolation have drawn him here year-round. In his youth he painted in watercolor in and around Cushing and his work is heavily influenced by that of his father, Andrew. Two works in the show from this period are "Red Life Preserver" from 1960 and "The Capstan" from 1963. He struck out on his own in his late teens and bought a house on Monhegan Island. Here he fell in love with island life and although he now owns his own island, he continues to paint the landscape and people of Monhegan. The Monhegan works in this show span over 30 years, from "Bronze Age" of 1966 to "Fog" completed in 2000. In the early 1990s, James purchased Southern Island and moved into the decommissioned lighthouse on this tiny island off Tenants Harbor. The lighthouse and the local animal life figure prominently in many of the works from Southern, such as "Iris at Sea, Study #2" from 1994 and "Eat" from 1999. (left: James Wyeth, Iris at Sea, Study #2, 1994, combined medium on toned board, Bequest of Mrs. Elizabeth B. Noyce)

"The Maine Influence: Selected Works by N. C. Wyeth" opens to the public on January 14, 2001 and runs through May 6, 2001. "The Maine Influence: Selected Works by James Wyeth" opens to the public on January 14, 2001 and runs through May 13, 2001. Both shows will be on view in the MBNA Center for the Wyeth Family in Maine.

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For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/30/11

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