Born July 12, 1917July 12. Born in Chadds Ford, PA at the home of his parents, Carolyn Bockius Wyeth and Newell Convers "N. C." Wyeth.
The Wyeth FamilyWyeth is the last of five siblings - Henriette (born 1907), Carolyn (born 1909), Nathaniel (born 1911), and Ann (born 1915). His health is fragile enough to convince his parents to remove him from public schooling before he completes the 1st grade. He is instructed by private tutors, older relatives, and personal exploration in a family that prizes imagination and creativity. They spend each summer in Port Clyde, Maine.
Formal Art EducationN. C. decides that Andrew is ready for a formal art education. In his father’s studio, traditional training includes drawing geometric forms, still lives and figure models from life and again from memory.
November 7, 1932
Nineteenth Annual Exhibition – Delaware Artists, Pupils of Howard Pyle, Members of the Society, The Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts, Wilmington DE November 7 – 27, 1932. This exhibition marks the artist’s first public exhibition of his work.
The artist begins working at the Kuerner Farm in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The nearby property owned by German immigrants, Karl and Anna Kuerner, will be a major theme in the artist's work for the rest of his life.
Philadelphia Art AllianceWork by the Wyeth Family, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Pennsylvania March 25 – April 19, 1935. The artist’s father N.C. and sisters Henriette and Carolyn all represented the family here.
First Tempera PaintingPeter Hurd, Wyeth’s brother-in-law and also a student of N.C., introduced the medium of tempera to the Wyeth family. The three painters experimented with the technique and the younger Wyeth’s first completed tempera painting was a portrait of Lupe, his Boston terrier.
October 19, 1937Water Colors by Andrew Wyeth, Macbeth Gallery, New York October 19 – November 1, 1937. First one-man exhibition sold all displayed work by October 21. Robert Macbeth was to be Wyeth’s primary dealer for decades. Correspondence regarding the artist and the gallery can be read at the Archives of American Art in Washington.
Young Swede, 1938A tempera portrait of Walt Anderson titled Young Swede is completed. Anderson and Wyeth met when the Wyeths first began travelling to Port Clyde in the 1920s. The native Mainer was to be a model and confidante for the artist
until his death in 1987.
April 1939Watercolors by Andrew Wyeth, Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire. The artist’s first solo exhibition at a museum, it included
Cat-O-Nine Tails, 1938.
July 12, 1939The artist meets Betsy Merle James, daughter of a newspaper editor and painter from East Aurora, New York. The James family also spent summers in Maine. Betsy wasted no time introducing her new friend to her neighbors Alvaro and Christina Olson. All three would make indelible impressions on young Wyeth.
Andrew Wyeth and Betsy James marry in East Aurora, New York. The newlyweds live in a converted schoolhouse building at the foot of the driveway to Wyeth's childhood home. The artist establishes his studio in one room of the house.
May 3, 1942May 3 – May 24, Delaware Art Center, Wilmington, Delaware. Wyeth meets the artist Edward Hopper, a fellow realist admired by Wyeth and a juror for this exhibition. The painter Josephine “Jo” Hopper, Edward’s wife, catalogues her husband’s work and explains her process to Betsy Wyeth. Betsy's similar records are the first steps in the archives that anchor Andrew's catalogue raisonné,
a work still in progress.
September 1942“Andrew Wyeth – One of America’s Youngest and Most Talented Artists”. American Artist,
September 1942 p. 17, 18.
February 10, 1943American Realists and Magic Realists, Museum of Modern Art, New York February 10 – March 21, 1943; Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo New York April 4 – May 5, 1943; Minneapolis Museum of Art, Minnesota June 1 – 30, 1943; San Francisco Museum of Art, California August 23 – September 19, 1943; Toronto Art Gallery, Canada November 12 –
December 19, 1943; Cleveland Museum of Art,
Ohio January 6 – February 6, 1944.
October 19, 1945N. C. Wyeth is killed when his car is struck by a train crossing the road by Kuerner’s farm. “My father’s death… put me in touch with something beyond me, things to think and feel, things that meant everything to me.”
Winter, 1946Work began on this tempera shortly after N. C. died. The scene is Kuerner’s Hill near the site of the crash. Later, Wyeth said, "The boy was me at a loss, really."
1947 exhibitionsApril 8 – 20, Andrew Wyeth, Pennsylvania Academy of Art, Philadelphia.
May 22 – June 30, Works by Newly Elected Members and By Recipients of Academy and Institute Honors, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.
Christina's WorldThe artist's best known work is completed in September.
The view of Christina Olson at her farm is representational, yet manipulated. Betsy served as a model - creating a composite figure, a technique that the artist would use throughout his career. The Museum of Modern Art acquires
the work in December.
Christina’s World, 1948 tempera on panel
March 1950"Andrew Wyeth Paints a Picture" by Elaine deKooning appears in Art News. This feature on the creation of A Crow Flew By (now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art) offered an in-depth look at the process of painting a tempera, from inspiration through studies and modeling
sessions on to completion.
January 1951The artist has surgery to remove a large portion of one lung due to an incurable respiratory disease. In a matter of weeks, Wyeth is at work again despite two near death experiences and the necessity to cut through muscles in his painting arm.
July 7, 1951Paintings and Drawings by Andrew Wyeth Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH July 7 – August 4, 1951, William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum Rockland, ME August 10 – September 8, 1951. This two venue exhibition is his first major museum retrospective.
M. Knoedler GalleryAndrew Wyeth, M. Knoedler & Company, Inc., New York October 26 – November 14, 1953. The artist joined M. Knoedler when Macbeth Galleries closed earlier this year. The Maine watercolor below, Roaring Spout, was among the first sold here.
First Honorary DoctorateWyeth is awarded his first honorary doctorate degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. The following year he received the same honor at Harvard University (below). In the decades to come he would accept 24 more doctorates.
October 1955An Art News article by Lloyd Goodrich includes of images of works with descriptions by the artist, including Monday Morning, completed that year. “My wife had placed her clothes basket up against the house to dry in the sun. Somehow it was forgotten...”
July 12, 1956Andrew Wyeth, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco California July 12 – August 12, 1956; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara California August 28 – September 23, 1956.
Spring 1958Andrew and Betsy purchase and begin restoration of an 18th century mill complex along the Brandywine River in Chadds Ford. An American Artist article that November features artwork done on the site.
Early 1959Completes Groundhog Day, which enters the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art later this year
1961With the completion of the mill restoration, the property becomes the family home. The artist retains his schoolhouse studio which will serve him for the rest of his life.
November 2, 1962Andrew Wyeth, Temperas, Water Colors and Drawings, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo New York November 2 – December 9, 1962.
Her RoomSummer 1963 – paints Her Room, which will quickly be acquired by the Farnsworth Art Museum
January 15, 1963Andrew Wyeth – Dry Brush and Pencil Drawings Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge Massachusetts January 15 – February 28, 1963; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York March 14 – April 27, 1963; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC May 19 –
June 16, 1963.
The exhibition marked the first public showing of Garret Room, completed the previous year.
March 16, 1963Andrew Wyeth – An Exhibition of Watercolors, Temperas and Drawings University of Arizona, Tucson March 16 –
April 14, 1963.
July 1963President John F. Kennedy awards the Medal of Freedom to Wyeth, the first visual artist to receive the award. The presentation by President Lyndon B. Johnson
takes place in December.
Time MagazineDecember 27, 1963, Time Magazine features Wyeth on their cover. The portrait reproduced there was painted by Henriette Wyeth Hurd.
May 14, 1965Richard Meryman's first article on Wyeth is published in Life. The journalist became a personal friend and wrote about the artist for the rest of his career. The two are shown here at an exhibition opening at The Whitney Museum of American Art in 1967.
October 5, 1966Andrew Wyeth – Temperas, Watercolors, Dry Brush, Drawings, 1938 – 1966 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia October 5 – November 27, 1966; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore Maryland December 11, 1966 – January 22, 1967; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City February 6 – April 12 1967; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Illinois April 21 – June 4, 1967.
Fall 1967A young girl from Maine became the artist’s next major model. She and her Finnish father would pose for the artist through the 1970s.
Andrew WyethThis large format book by Richard Meryman (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1968) was available in general and (in 1969) limited editions. Both featured this popular quote by the artist:
December 26, 1967Alvaro Olson dies the day after Christmas and Christina follows on January 27, 1968. The last work at the Olson home is completed in September 1969 and the artist does not work on the property again.
February 19, 1970Andrew Wyeth, The White House, Washington DC February 19 – March 28, 1970. Though works by Wyeth had hung individually as loans to the residence, this 23-work exhibition was the first one-man show by any artist at the White House.
Wyeth PeopleWyeth People: a portrait of Andrew Wyeth as he is seen by his friends and neighbors, Gene Logsdon. New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1971. Reissued by Swallow Press, 2003. Logsdon visited and interviewed several of the artist’s models, including Karl Kuerner.
Helga DrawingsHelga Testorf, a neighbor of the Kuerners, meets the artist.
He begins drawing her in a secret project that
will last into the 1980s.
First Drawing, 1971 pencil on paper 14 x 11 in. © Pacific Sun Trading Company
June 1971The Brandywine River Museum of Art opens. An integral part of the Brandywine Conservancy, an art and environment preserving organization, the museum features American illustration and the art of the Brandywine Valley, including the Wyeth family.
March 15, 1973Carolyn Bockius Wyeth dies at age 86. Night Mare, completed this year, reveals mortality on the artist’s mind.
June 16, 1973The Art of Andrew Wyeth
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California June 16 – September 3, 1973. Catalogue by Wanda Corn, New York Graphic Society Ltd., Greenwich, CT.
Spring 1974Andrew Wyeth The Lefevre Gallery, London. May 23 – June 22, 1974 – catalogue by Perry T. Rathbone.
Andrew Wyeth National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo April 6 – May 19; The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan. May 25 – June 30, 1974 – catalogue published by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Tokyo
October 16, 1976Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth: Kuerners and Olsons, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York October 16, 1976 – February 6, 1977 was the first solo exhibition by a living artist presented by the Met. Wyeth and then-director Thomas Hoving would collaborate for years to come.
May 1977Elected to Associate Membership of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Institut de France, Paris. Wyeth makes his only overseas trip to accept the honor in May 1978. He and John Singer Sargent remain the only two Americans ever welcomed into the Académie.
Summer 1978Andrew and Betsy Wyeth purchase Southern Island. Buildings extant on the island include a lighthouse and distinctive bell tower. The island becomes the setting of many Maine paintings including Sea Running.
January 6, 1979Karl Kuerner dies at age 80. Wyeth had created a final portrait of Karl during his illness, Spring, in 1978.
June 6, 1980Andrew Wyeth Royal Academy of the Arts, London June 6 – August 31, 1980 was the first exhibition by a living American artist at the Royal Academy.
December 2, 1980Temperas, Aquarelles, Drybrush, Dessins Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris December 2, 1980 – January 31, 1981.
1982Christina’s World and Wyeth at Kuerners by Betsy James Wyeth are released. Each book of reproductions highlights artwork done on the Kuerner or Olson farms. Many informal studies of each of these favorite locations are arranged to allow the reader to follow the artist’s method from inspiration to the final version of the work. Published in Boston by Houghton Mifflin Co.
May 24, 1987The Helga Pictures National Gallery of Art, Washington DC May 24 – September 27; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston October 28, 1987 – January 3, 1988; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston January 31 – April 4, 1988; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco August 13 – October 16, 1988; Detroit Institute of Arts November 13, 1988 – January 22, 1989; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York June 19 – September 18, 1989.
July 31, 1987Longtime friend and model Walt Anderson dies. The portrait of him completed this summer is titled Weatherbeaten.
October 4, 1990President George H. W. Bush awards Wyeth the Congressional Gold Medal, which was never before granted to a visual artist. The portrait on the medal was based on a
drawing by Jamie Wyeth.
December 1990“Wyeth Since Helga”, by Thomas Hoving is published in the magazine Connoisseur. Few interviewers could coax a story from Wyeth better than Hoving. The artist’s latest work is discussed in detail here.
September 19, 1991The Olson House is gifted to the Farnsworth Art Museum. It will be opened to the public for seasonal tours in 1993.
February 3, 1995Japanese retrospective Autobiography runs at Aichi Prefectural Museum, Nagoya, February 3 – April 2, 1995; Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, April 15 – June 4, 1995; Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukushima-City, June 6 – July 16, 1995. It’s one US venue is at Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri September 24 –
November 26, 1995.
October 1996Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life, biography by Richard Meryman.
New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
1997The Olson Collection is purchased by Mr. Katsushige Suzaki, a Japanese businessman and patron of the arts. The collection consists of studies for major works done at the Olsons. Mr. Susaki realized their potential to inspire and instruct students at his Marunuma Art Park in Asaka, Japan.
July 13, 1997CBS News Sunday Morning, airs an interview by Charles Osgood on the occasion of Wyeth's 80th birthday.
Filming took place on Benner Island, the setting of the
watercolor The Pond.
May 28, 1998Unknown Terrain: Landscapes of Andrew Wyeth Whitney Museum of American Art, New York May 28 – August 30, 1998; Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg Russia October 18, 1998 – January 10, 1999.
February 3, 2001Close Friends Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson Mississippi February 3 – May 13, 2001; Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville South Carolina June 6 – August 26, 2001; Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, Savannah Georgia September 13 – December 31, 2001.
November 12, 2005Memory & Magic
High Museum of American Art, Atlanta November 12 – February 26, 2006; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania March 29 – July 16, 2006.
March 11, 2006Master Drawings from the Artist’s Collection Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford Pennsylvania March 11 – July 15, 2006. Catalogue by Henry Adams, published by Brandywine Conservancy Chadds Ford, PA
November 8, 2007Andrew Wyeth: Emotion and Creation toured only Japan: Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo November 8 – December 23, 2008; Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya January 4 – March 8, 2009; Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukushima March 17 – May 10, 2009.
November 15, 2007President George W. Bush presents the artist with the National Medal of Arts.
January 16, 2009Mr. Wyeth died in his sleep in Chadds Ford January 16. He was buried in a private cemetery in Maine.
June 30, 2011Olson House and Kuerner Farm are designated as National Historic Landmarks. The Olson House can be visited through self-guided tours via the Farnsworth Art Museum based in Rockland, ME. The Kuerner Farm tour is available at the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA.
November 10, 2011The Wyeths: Three Generations of American Art opens at the Mona Bismarck Foundation, Paris to run through February 12, 2012.
April 21, 2012Andrew Wyeth In China opens in Beijing and travels to Hong Kong before closing at Christie’s Private Sale Galleries in New York.
July 2012The artist’s studio is opened to the public through the Brandywine River Museum of Art. The building was given to the museum in 2010 and was restored to the time that the artist lived there with Betsy and his young boys. The studio recreates the making of Raccoon.
October 2013Andrew Wyeth: A Spoken Self-Portrait, Richard Meryman. Washington DC: National Gallery of Art/D.A.P., 2013.
December 29, 2013BBC Scotland airs Michael Palin in Wyeth’s World, a documentary for European audiences directed by Eleanor Yule and produced by Franny Moyle and Mhari McNeill.
May 24, 2014Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In opens at the National Gallery of Art,
Washington D.C., inspired by Wind from the Sea, one of Wyeth's best-loved works.