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Andrew Wyeth: Autobiography Paperback – September 15, 1998

4.9 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Here, the legendary American realist painter looks back at six decades of his work. This comprehensive retrospective that originated in Japan and is now on view in Kansas City, Missouri, includes both famous and recent paintings. An artistic independent, Wyeth pictures a different view of reality than does, say, Norman Rockwell. Thomas Hoving introduces the book and observes that Wyeth "has always painted for himself." Thus, Wyeth's comments on the origins and events of each painting are of particular interest. The quality of the printing is very good, avoiding the pitfalls of too much high contrast and loss of shadow detail in the pictures. But best of all are the stories Wyeth tells. Sure to appeal to both general and informed readers, this is recommended for the autobiography and art collections of public and academic libraries.?Andy Murphy, Charleston P.L., S.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The most popular and the most accomplished twentieth-century American realist painter after Edward Hopper serves up as his autobiography not a prose narrative but an exhibition of his work that spans his entire career, from an oil of a man plowing his fields that was painted when the artist was 16 (in 1933) to a 1993 watercolor of a whale's rib lying on a Maine island shore. One hundred thirty-seven artworks in all appear, and for each one, Wyeth offers a note about its subject, the circumstances that spurred him to paint or draw it, and the feelings, values, and experiences he associates with it. The notes vary greatly in length; some fill most of a page, while others are only a sentence or two. They are frank, concrete, and personal, and Wyeth admirers may find them almost as worthwhile as the splendid gallery of his work that they accompany. Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821225693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821225691
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Of all the Wyeth artists, Andrew is the most prolific and most lauded. If you wonder why, read this book. The idea is simple: A picture and a reminisience. Thomas Hoving conducted a series of interviews with Andrew and placed the artist's insight into his own work next to the work itself. The format is as austere and magnificent as the paintings themselves. The plate qualities are excellent and all of the pieces are shown in their entirety. This is not an autobiography of Andrew's life but rather a penetrating look into sixty years of peerless artistry. The book contains no detail plates nor does it attempt to explain Andrew's often cryptic commentary, but it takes you into the mind and soul of the artist. Delight in this. It is a treasure.
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By A Customer on May 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that will give any Wyeth fan pleasure. When I finally got a copy, it was wish fullfillment. To see 138 of the artist's works with his own comments is a great pleasure. And some of the comments are quite provocative! The prints are top quality and follow the artist's career chronologically. The book also includes a personal chronology of Andrew Wyeth's life, as well as exibitions and a bibliography for those who want to know more. Definitely a keeper!
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Format: Paperback
I got this book from my old boyfriend for Christmas one year. We used to sit in Borders every day after school and drool over the beautifully drab New England paintings this Wyeth boy created. Thus started my fascination with Andy, now my favorite artist. This book is not only chock-full of his paintings; it includes a paragraph or two for each painting from the artist himself, letting you peep into Wyeth's mind and understand every aspect of his paintings -- and his life. In it Wyeth explains the Helga and Christina (from "Christina's World") series, as well as some of his personal and childhood experiences. An all-around great book, and if you want to learn more about him be sure to check out Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life by Richard Meryman as well.
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Format: Hardcover
My teacher introduced me to Andrew Wyeth's paintings and drawings about a year or two ago. I've been in love with his work ever since. It's just how beautiful his linework is and how he brings life to the paintings. That is so incredibly rare. There are plenty of portrait artists out there, but I can't think of one that impresses me as much as he does. I think this is because of how well he knew his subjects.

He said drawing with pencil helped him get to the core of a thing. If you've ever drawn or painted people and animals from life, as he did, it increases the appreciation for his work one hundred fold. I also think that this is why his paintings and sketches are so full of life - you just don't get that from a photo, there is NO comparison. His landscapes blow me away every time, and I'm not really a fan of landscape paintings. Something about the solitude of it all just takes me in.

My favourite is Night Sleeper, which is on the cover. His palette is just beautiful, i don't really think it's muted or drab - the closer you look, the more colours you see. How he played colours in juxtaposition, so that they glow, is another part that gives his work such intensity and life.

The comments beside all the work are, as people have mentioned, very good. The entire book is one of those slow joy books. It's just nice to sit with it and turn the pages slowly and take in every thing.
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Format: Paperback
I especially appreciate the format of ANDREW WYETH. Examples of Wyeth's work are arranged chronologically throughout the book accompanied by comments in a conversational style by the artist about each individual painting. Much of the commentary is about those special places which the artist loves in both Pennsylvania and Maine as well as about his friends, neighbors and members of the Wyeth clan. The separate chronologies of Wyeth's personal life and his exhibitions are extremely helpful. I recommend this book to admirers of the artist and also to those who are just becoming acquainted with Wyeth. He is truly an American legend.
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Format: Paperback
This isn't a linear autobiography, in the usual sense. Instead, it presents selections from Wyeth's entire life as a painter, from his mid-teens to his late seventies, when this book was published. Wyeth's own notes on each piece make it an autobiography.

This says less about the artist than about his artwork, which speaks for itself. His subdued palette captures the people and places of his life. Places include farms, barn or farmhouse interiors, Maine shorelines, and other open spaces that are increasingly hard to find. Wyeth's people include his wife Betsy, his sister, and neighbors. Grittier than Norman Rickwell but no less affetionate, he presents them at work, at hard-earned rest, or simply at a quiet moment. A few nudes of teenaged Siri, including the remarkable "The Virgin," capture the gawky grace of emerging womanhood. Two images really stood out for me, though, images I would never have associated with Wyeth. "Spring" and "Christmas morning" carry a surreal sense, somehow even closer the the supernatural for their entirely realistic rendering. "Spring," especially, offers an amiguous sense of hope using the starkest and bleakest of visual language.

As Wyeth narrates each painting, a sentence to a paragraph for each, parts of his life emerge: friendships, successes, and losses. Without being mysterious, the text comes across as spotty and selective, omitting far more than it presents. If you want a standard kind of biography, you'll have to look elsewhere. Instead, this book is closer to the occasional cup of coffee with the artist, shared over weeks or months, in which different moments of his life arise almost at random. His words add an intimacy to the art that's hard to express, but that is worth experiencing - as is the art itself.

-- wiredweird
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