Jamie Wyeth Master of Portraits, Place & Pets: Part Two

Yesterday you were introduced to Jamie Wyeth when we looked at some of the Jamie Wyeth Portrait Studies. And to refresh your memory - Jamie Wyeth is the son of well known American artist Andrew Wyeth and part of the Wyeth Dynasty we have looked at over the past few weeks.

This member of the Wyeth family paints with a remarkable finesse where his subjects range from portraits to places and concludes with a fanfare in his rendition of animals.

Today we are going to look at some of Jamie Wyeth's paintings which illustrate A Sense of Place painted in a Contemporary Realist style using both watercolour and oils. Most of his works are of the areas around Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania where the Wyeth family have their roots and Monhegan Island, Maine where the family holidayed.

Let's get rolling with a painting of: Dawn. The White House. The painting bears the signatures of President Bill Clinton, who held office at the time, as well as First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, former presidents George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald R. Ford, and former first ladies Barbara Bush, Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, and Lady Bird Johnson. The White House Historical Association commissioned Wyeth, who had previously painted a portrait of President John F. Kennedy and the 1981 and 1984 White House Christmas cards, to create this painting in honour of the 200th anniversary of the White House.1

Dawn. The White House by Jamie Wyeth (1)

I have a confession! When I look at a landscape, seascape - any painting of a scene - I look to see if the artist has captured a sense of place or has the artist just painted an interesting location.

There is a huge difference between a pretty scene and a scene that contains the artist's mind and perceptions, if not their soul.

For me, when I look at a Jamie Wyeth scene I can feel the artist - which is my test. See what you think.

Can you feel the artist in the images I am going to show you today?

When I look at Seawatchers (below) I am reminded of an important point that we made a few weeks ago.

Australian artist Mike Barr believes that landscapes are enhanced by animation, that the presence of life adds to the beauty of the scene. The painting below by Jamie Wyeth illustrates this point emphatically: both in composition and title. For me, the unbridled fury of the sea is enhanced by the presence of the figures.

Seawatchers by Jamie Wyeth (2)

There is no doubt that Jamie Wyeth was born to paint and, like his father, received tuition from other artistic members of the family. But Jamie Wyeth's paintings are not, in my opinion, like those of the other Wyeth dynasty members.

In some you can see the influence particularly of his father Andrew Wyeth but there is a uniqueness to Jamie's paintings that sets him apart. And whilst I do like many of the works of Andrew Wyeth, I love Jamie Wyeth's even more. His scapes and outdoor scenes pulsate with life!

And please read the titles carefully as you will find some of them enlightening.

Below are three paintings that do have an Andrew Wyeth feel to them but Jamie has added that unexpected dash of an object, shape, colour that entices the viewer deeper into the image.

Do you want an admirer or an engager? Jame Wyeth aims to have his audience engage.

If you would like to read an article on Jamie's unique identity within a family of artists and how this came into being follow the Bookmark link below.

Jamie Wyeth: Born to Paint | The Saturday Evening Post
How Jamie Wyeth, the youngest member of America’s first family of art, forged his own unique identity.

Of interest is that many of the Jamie Wyeth scenes are enhanced by figures as we saw above in Seawatchers. Consider these images are how much more information and appreciation of the subject matter you gain through the presence of the figures.

Look at this painting: Excursion Boats, Monhegan. An unusual choice of title considering the position of the woman in the wheel chair who can only be an observer of the excursion boats. But broaden your interpretation of the concept of an excursion and the narrative of the painting embraces both the woman having a day out (possibly from a confined home) and members of the general public enjoying a day's excursion on the sea.

Excursion Boats, Monhegan (2)

The more you look, the more levels you discover in the paintings. Jamie Wyeth also revels in the unexpected and unusual. One of his extreme examples is Adam and Eve and the C-97.

Adam and Eve and the C-97 (2)

It's a huge painting (10 ft x 30 ft 9 in) depicting a naked Adam and Eve (who has dropped the apple) gazing at a military cargo plane and has graced the walls of the Delaware National Guard since the height of the Vietnam War.4

As you can imagine, the painting (done on parachute fabric with aeronautical paint) has attracted attention and some controversy, mostly to do with the bare buttocks of Adam and Eve. It even has a skull concealed in the cloud (Airman Death), a creature Wyeth created when he was an illustrator for the DANG Truth, the Delaware Air National Guard base newsletter. 4

I am going to conclude today with Rogue Wave an oil, acrylic and enamel creation on canvas; a powerful and skillful painting that evokes all the emotions Wyeth and a couple of friends experienced when out in a boat off Monhegan Island as the outer bands of a hurricane hit the island.5

The unexpected, unbridled touch of Jamie Wyeth is seen in the sudden dash of sea foam green against the greyblue of the ocean.

Rogue Wave (5)

Next week I will showcase some of the creature paintings by Jamie Wyeth and in many cases they too are essential elements in a pictorial narrative or used to enhance a scene.

Look for paintings where you can feel the presence of the artist.

If you would like to review our posts on The Wyeth Dynasty please use our Search Function which you will find at the top of this post on the right hand side.

A special thank you to the Brandywine River Museum of Art, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, for their assistance in acknowledging the credit source for some of the images.

1. library.whitehousehistory.org
2. Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946), Giuliana and the Sunflowers, 1987, oil on board. Brandywine River Museum of Art, Purchased with Museum funds, 1987. © Jamie wyeth/Artists Rights Society.
3. reddit.com
4. whyy.org
5. christies.com