Wondrous Strange: The Wyeth Tradition

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9780821225370: Wondrous Strange: The Wyeth Tradition
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An enchanting collection of fantastical and colorful paintings by four American Realism painters--Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, and Wyeth's son and grandson--examines the relationship among these artists and suggests how illustration and the fine arts intersect in their work. 12,500 first printing.

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Review:

Demonic eyes shining out of a shadowy tree. A blind man staggering through a moonlit landscape. Disembodied, dark hands rising out of snow. A feral dog with one blue eye. Ambiguous shadows harboring human shapes. These are but a few of the eerie images in this mesmerizing, wondrous book. There are four artists represented here: three generations of Wyeth men--N.C., Andrew, and James--and Howard Pyle, artistically speaking the father of them all. An essay on each artist precedes a generous selection of stunning, full-size, color plates of his work; the essay on Andrew is written by his wife, Betsy. It is Betsy who originally conceived of the exhibition that led to the book. David Michaelis, author of a new biography of N.C., writes, "The intensity of her relationship with all three Wyeths makes her the true linking figure in what has too often been simplified as a male succession."

The simple chronological ordering of the book, from Pyle to his student N.C. Wyeth, to N.C.'s son Andrew, to Andrew's son James, turns out to have a peculiar power. The gaudy, tricky, glorious too-muchness of both Pyle and James make illustrational bookends around the more subtly drawn histrionics of N.C. and Andrew. It might come as a surprise to fans of Andrew's uniquely sublime naturalistic gifts that he possesses an uncanny streak of surrealism, which he couches in his otherwise orderly realism. The book as a whole should give hours and hours of pleasure to Pyle and Wyeth fans of all persuasions and generations. --Peggy Moorman

About the Author:

Howard Pyle is the father of American illustration. His student, N.C. Wyeth, became America's foremost illustrator in the early twentieth century. Andrew Wyeth is one of the most distinguished artists of this century. His work has been widely-exhibited and published. Jamie Wyeth continues the family tradition as an outstanding and popular artist, and has written and illustrated children's books. Susan C. Larsen:Chief Curator of the Farnsworth Art Museum. David Michaelis: author of N.C. Wyeth: A Biography (Knopf, 1998). Stephen Bruni:Executive Director of the Delaware Art Museum.Betsy James Wyeth: wife of Andrew Wyeth, is author of several Wyeth books.Theodore Wolff: former art critic, Christian Science Monitor; Christopher Crosman : Director of the Farnsworth Museum.

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Wyeth, N.C., Wyeth, Andrew, Wyeth, Jamie
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