Andrew Wyeth

Essay by Chris BethUniversity, Bachelor's December 1996

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A well known example of American Realism is Andrew Wyeth. He has a

certain "affection" for the objects and people which surround him. These

Wyeth records with remarkable likeness, poetic charm, and a "powerful

silence". These statements can be applied to both people and still life. I

agree with David McCord in his statement in Andrew Wyeth, page 24, "to

that powerful silence one must add enormous stillness."

All of Wyeth's works emit that special poetic charm, but it is best

illustrated in his use of water versus the landscape. In River Cove the water

sits so still and calm it appears to be dead. The only life visible on the land is

a few clam and mussel shells along with the tracks left behind by some local

bird. The only fauna that can be seen is reflection of evergreens in the water.

This painting is hauntingly still with a profound simplicity.

There are no

people visible, and no evidence of people inhabiting the area. In this sense

the viewer has a "birds eye view" of an untouched, natural paradise.

The "powerful silence" and "enormous silence" described by David

McCord in the opening paragraph is most apparent in Wyeth's distinguished

piece appropriately named after its subject entitled Christina's World.

In Christina's World Wyeth depicts his young neighbor struggling to

reach a farm house, perhaps her home, in the distance. The strongest

emotion which radiates from this painting is silence. There are no other

figured in the portrait as the crippled girl looks longingly to the farm. A

slight breeze is detectable as strands of Christina's hair float as wisps. The

sea-shell pink dress gives the subject a sense of maturity and girl-hood at the

same time. Her back is turned towards the viewer so any emotion Christina

is feeling...