Photo by Bruce Weber.
Wyeth in 1983. "I'm a secretive bastard," the artist said of his work. "I would never let anybody watch me painting... it would be like somebody watching you have sex-painting is that personal to me."
Courtesy Museum Syndicate.
Barracoon was the nude Wyeth considered his best; it's a painting of Helga Testorf that the artist altered to make her appear African American. He said of the painting, "I was trying to achieve something dateless. This could be any period—Egyptian, the Renaissance."
The Brandywine River Museum, in Wyeth’s hometown Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, contains about 40 of the artist’s paintings, as well as works by his father N.C. and his son Jamie. Wyeth himself was no great fan of retrospectives: "To have all your life's work and to have them along the wall, it's like walking in with no clothes on. It's terrible,” he said.
Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.
Of perhaps his most famous work, depicting his neighbor Christina Olson, Wyeth said, "The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless." Looking at Ryan McGinley's "Running Field," maybe Wyeth's wilful nostalgia has resonated all along?
Photo by Peter Ralston.
Of his method, Wyeth said, "I do more painting when I'm not painting."