Andrew Newell Wyeth (surname pronounced /ˈwаɪɛθ/) (July 12, 1917 – January 16, 2009) was a visual artist, primarily a realist painter, working predominantly in a regionalistU.S. artists of the middle 20th century and was sometimes referred to as the "Painter of the People," due to his work's popularity with the American public. style. He was one of the best-known
Wyeth's art has long been controversial. As a representational artist, Wyeth's paintings have sharply contrasted with abstraction, which gained currency in American art in the middle of the 20th century.
Museum exhibitions of Wyeth's paintings have set attendance records, but many art critics have been critical of his work. Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for The Village Voice, derided his paintings as "Formulaic stuff, not very effective even as illustrational 'realism.' " Common criticisms are that Wyeth's art verges on illustration and that his rural subject matter is sentimental.
Admirers of Wyeth's art believe that his paintings, in addition to sometimes displaying overt beauty, contain strong emotional currents, symbolic content, and underlying abstraction. Most observers of his art agree that he is skilled at handling the media of egg tempera (which uses egg yolk as its medium) and watercolor. Wyeth avoided using traditional oil paints. His use of light and shadow let the subjects illuminate the canvas. His paintings and titles suggest sound, as is implied in many paintings, including Distant Thunder (1961) and Spring Fed (1967).
A close friend and student of Wyeth, Bo Bartlett, commented on Wyeth’s reaction to criticism during an interview with Brian Sherwin in 2008: "People only make you swerve. I won’t show anybody anything I’m working on. If they hate it, it’s a bad thing, and if they like it, it’s a bad thing. An artist has to be ingrown to be any good."