TWO PIECES REFLECT ARTIST’S MASTERFUL HANDLING OF THE MEDIUM
It’s been said that the principal heirs to Regionalism’s tradition of naturalist realism include Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wyeth – whose 1948 tempera masterpiece Christina’s World, held by the Museum of Modern Art, competes with Grant Wood’s American Gothic for the title of America’s favorite painting.
Wyeth (1917-2009) had an “ongoing love affair with everyday life – domestic, natural and architectural,” notes the book Andrew Wyeth: Memory & Magic. “Found throughout Wyeth’s work, these objects form patterns that illuminate core themes and reveal the artist wrestling with issues of memory, temporality, embodiment and the metaphysical.”
Two important Wyeth pieces are being offered at Heritage’s American Art auction scheduled for May 7, 2021. The watercolors on paper Hill Orchard and St. George are expected to realize at least $100,000 and $150,000, respectively.
“Andrew Wyeth was a constant observer, often working in series inspired by subjects familiar to him, resulting in a marvelous dichotomy of abstraction grounded in precisely rendered realism of the places and people that were meaningful to the artist,” says Aviva Lehmann, vice present and director of American Art at Heritage Auctions in New York.
A “quiet and haunting drama” pervades the stillness evident in the two works being offered by Heritage, Lehmann says. “The combination of light and color, executed in Wyeth’s masterful handling of the watercolor medium, immediately communicates the smell, texture and overall feelings associated with rural life that seems especially embedded in tradition and the people and way of life that Wyeth and his family held in such high regard.”
The pieces are consigned by a noted East Coast collector of post-war design.
This article appears in the Spring 2021 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine.