Exhibition | Wyeth Dynasty

Nov 16, 2016 — Sep 10, 2017

Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 2009), regarded as one of the most important American artists of the 20th century, launched his career in 1937 with a sold-out exhibition of his watercolors in New York. On the occasion of the young artist’s remarkable debut, his father and mentor, noted illustrator N.C. Wyeth wrote him a congratulatory letter prophesying, “You are headed in the direction that should finally reach the pinnacle in American art.”

In celebration of the centennial of his birth, the Greenville County Museum of Art presents the exhibition Wyeth Dynasty, a retrospective not only of Andrew Wyeth's work but a glimpse into the work of his father, N. C., his son Jamie and his sisters Carolyn and Henriette. More than 70 works are featured in this important look at the first family of American painting. The exhibition also includes a number of sketches and studies that complement and enrich the finished watercolors and temperas.

Wyeth’s subjects focused on two locations: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, his birthplace, and Cushing, Maine, his second home since childhood. Drawing inspiration from the distinctive characteristics of these locations, he revealed universal attributes in his depictions of landscapes, objects, and people. The Museum’s collection emphasizes Wyeth’s preference for painting intimate subjects, including his family, his homes, his memories, and his favorite models. He once said, “I am an illustrator of my own life.”

Greenville’s Andrew Wyeth collection encompasses the full scope of the artist’s extraordinary career, including significant decade-by-decade examples, from the 1930s to the 21st century. Wyeth himself described it as “the very best collection of my watercolors in any public museum in this country.” 

Representing the third generation of one of America’s most renowned families of artists, James Browning Wyeth (born 1946) began pursuing his career as an artist at the age of eleven, under the tutelage of his aunt, Carolyn Wyeth. Ambitious and talented, Jamie Wyeth enjoyed early success painting the residents and landscapes of his hometown, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

Highlighted by local residents, both human and animal, and set in the familiar surroundings of the Brandywine River Valley and coastal Maine, Wyeth's expressive new works invite viewers to conjure their own narratives based on the artist's provocative titles and ambiguous imagery.