Andrew Wyeth, one of the prominent American painters, was born in 1917. The son of illustrator N. C. Wyeth, Andrew is the leading member of the dynasty of painters that included his sisters, their husband and his own two sons. He won fame at the age of 12 for his illustrations of “Robin Hood”. He was 20 years old when he first exhibited his paintings.
Andrew studied with his father and was strongly influenced by him. His father’s style of illustration expresses sentimentality and strives for absolute reality. But very early the young artist gravitated away from his teacher. Wyeth’s style is both precise and minute in detail; he is a realist influenced by photography.
He painted portraits, landscapes, seascapes and domestic scenery. His favourite media are tempera and water-colour. Wyeth’s works are easily recognized by dimly lit and deserted landscapes in tones of grey and brown, which convey feelings of loneliness and solitude. One of the keys to his works is that he creates mysteries that need resolution.
This is apparent in many of his works, such as “Inland Shell” or “Christina’s World”. In “Inland Shell” he painted a shell above the leafy forest floor. The contrast between the bright shell and the dark surroundings is stark. How the shell arrived in the forest or why it is there he doesn’t explain.