The Sweep

Andrew Wyeth

American, 1917 - 2009

The Sweep, 1967

  • On View

Tempera on Masonite

Dimensions: 24 1/8 × 35 1/8 in. (61.3 × 89.2 cm)
Framed: 30 × 41 in. (76.2 × 104.1 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards through the Viola E. Bray Charitable Trust, 1967.29

Andrew Wyeth, son of the well-known illustrator N. C. Wyeth, was born in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, later moving to Maine. Attracted to art from an early age, he was essentially self-taught, learning by observation rather than by formal instruction. His intimate knowledge of these two environments in New England is manifested in his art and his body of work is largely devoted to subjects from Chadds Ford and his home in Maine. He achieved acclaim early in his career; his first solo exhibition of watercolors, in New York in 1937, completely sold out. The Sweep pictures a view with which the artist is well acquainted--a vista from the edge of the Wyeths' Maine property overlooking the road leading to the farm of their neighbor, the James family. This painting is executed with technical virtuosity, especially evident in the bristling needles of the evergreen trees, the texture of the cold porous surface of each stone of the rock wall, and the light falling on the weathered oar (called a sweep) leaning on the wall. The image is typical of Wyeth in its depiction of a silent, still world that is cool and remote in its austerity.

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