James Browning Wyeth1946 -
Born: July 6, 1946, Wilmington, Delaware
There is no dynasty more famous in twentieth-century American art than that of the Wyeth family. Beginning with Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945) and gaining great renown through Wyeth's son Andrew (born 1917), the dynasty has followed through to a third generation with Andrew's son James Browning Wyeth.
From the time he was just beginning to pursue art in his adolescence, focus was fixed on his status as a third-generation artist. While all three Wyeths shared a common foundation in drawing and a deep appreciation for art history, their styles differ significantly. Newell Convers was an illustrator who used oils to create painterly renderings and dramatic lighting effects, while Andrew is famous for his thinly painted, melancholy watercolors of rural America; James uses oils and mixed media to create his provocative portraits of animals and people.
Often focusing on shapes and abstractions in his compositions, Jamie's playful sense of humor, coupled with the sensuous qualities in the texture and color of his work, attract the viewer to his unique images. Once the viewer's attention has been captured, however, Wyeth's serious side becomes apparent. In this way, he is able to communicate subtle insights into his subject matter, as well as his own nature. About his work, he says: "All I really want to present to the public is my painting, unadorned with anecdotal explanations or pretty words. Who I am and what I care about is expressed in my work."
While his family members were, of course, extremely influential to his development as an artist, Jamie counts John Singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer as influences on his personal artistic style. Although he left school after the sixth grade to be privately tutored at home and spend more time working on his art, Wyeth holds an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Elizabethtown College. He has exhibited throughout the United States, having made his New York debut with a solo exhibition at the Knoedler Gallery when he was twenty-one years old. Raised at the Wyeth family home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, James still spends time in his native city, though prefers to paint in the islands off the coast of Maine.