Remembering an American Master: Andrew Wyeth

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Andrew Wyeth died in his sleep, January 15, at age 91. He was a part of a highly gifted continuum of artists—the son of illustrator NC Wyeth, brother of Henriette Wyeth and father of Jamie Wyeth—and over the course of his lifetime he produced a body of technically and aesthetically astounding work that melds realism with surrealism and abstract expressionism. It is a style that has garnered both controversy and admiration.

(Fred Rogers was a fan of his work and had the artist appear on his popular children's program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Check out the video below. In 1963 Wyeth was awarded a Presidential Freedom Award—the highest civilian honor—by President John F. Kennedy and in 1970 was feted by President Richard Nixon with a black tie dinner and the first-ever exhibition of a living artist's work in the White House.)

In 1948, at age 31, he created Christina's World, which has since become an icon of American art. Wyeth is survived by his wife, Betsy, sons, Nicholas and Jamie, and his paintings. The Smithsonian American Art Museum is fortunate to own several of his pieces. (Dodges Ridge, pictured above, is currently the only one on view.) Read more about Andrew Wyeth's legacy in "Wyeth's World," originally published in the June 2006 issue of Smithsonian.

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