Thursday, September 02, 2010

N.C. Wyeth at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

Just took the Brandywine River Museum, N.C. Wyeth home, and studio tour. Very impressed with N.C. Wyeth. Sad to see the aesthetic disintegration in the family from noble and inspiring history painting, to weird 60s alienation found in the technically proficient work of Andrew Wyeth, to the celebrity-hound aspects of Jamie Wyeth's Nureyev and Andy Warhol portraits. A reflection of the times, perhaps, but a misdirection of artistic talent, IMHO. I did like Jamie's pictures of cows, though--especially a big one of an angry herd. That reminded one of his grandfather's western genre illustrations.

Wanting to know more about N.C., I found this video on YouTube from the Dulwich Picture Gallery that explains his significance as a history painter:

One of the most striking paintings in the Brandywine River Museum, at least to me, is N.C. Wyeth's 1932 "In a Dream I Met General Washington." It resulted from a near-death experience painting a mural of the first President on a scaffold 30 feet above a marble floor. He caught himself but the terror was followed by a vivid dream, that led to the painting, a surrealist experience:

N.C. Wyeth's studio, which contains his last unfinished painting of George Washington, just as he left it, before he was killed at a railroad crossing with his grandson, is touching.

Well worth a visit.