Friday, November 28, 2008

The Friday Evening Nudes

Andrew Wyeth

click to visit the official website

July 12, 1917

Black Velvet
(this reminds so much of Manet's Olympia)

On Her Knees

Day Dreams

Lovers 1981

24 comments:

  1. I recall so well when the Helga nudes were published. There was quite a scandal, and a lot of buzz. It seems that a great deal was forgiven or overlooked because artists have done this for centuries, and because the paintings were so powerful. These nudes are some of Wyeth's best work (though our local State Art Museum has three exquisite pieces - important Wyeth's, actually). I love all of these, and the beauty of his personal light and composition sense. I also remember a series of drawings he did in prep for a painting, sweating the shape, cropping, contrasts, etc., each drawing making the overall idea stronger, until the final painting carried it even farther. It was an education to see how his artistic mind works.

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  2. I thought of the Manet immediately when I saw the first one, too. I'd not seen this series before so thank you, once again, for introducing me to new art.

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  3. I have to say, the first thing the Wyeth Nudes make me think of, is the understanding and forgiving Missus Wyeth. [As Steve was alluding, "Helga" was AW's lover, as well as his model]

    That said, really like the "Day Dreams" one.

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  4. I like the one of the man himself! ;)

    seriously, they are all beautiful...thank you for sharing them..

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  5. I love his picture too.
    I love all of these. My favorite is the last, with the shadows. Wonderful!

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  6. i like 'daydreams' :) there is something so beautiful about a beautiful woman and he was a master at capturing every essence and curve. thanks for doing this every week- it is a highlight.

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  7. i think they are lovely and i remember the uproar surrounding them. i think i like the last the best.

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  8. Thanks Pagan, what a terrific artist you feature today. The women in his paintings are so sensual

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  9. In reading various sources on the web, I did not come upon anything that explicitly states Wyeth had an affair with Helga. I'm not saying it didn't happen; because obviously, I don't know.

    I do know that there are many models that pose as nude subjects for artists and it does not necessarily mean that there is an affair going on.

    My two cents only.

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  10. Hmmm. I thought I recalled, at the time the pics were revealed, the nature of their relationship was made clear (if not exactly explicit, ala "THEY WERE LOVERS. Ba-da-bing!" ;-/). For years and years.

    My bad, if I'm mistaken (I'll defer to your vastly superior knowledge of art, Gina).

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  11. jcf: honestly, I don't have a vast or superior knowledge of art! That's one reason I like to post about it; so that other people who may can fill me in and/or interpret things in their own unique way.

    If you recall having read that they had an affair, I believe you! I barely recall the controversy. Perhaps now that many years have passed, the fervor has died down and it's not reflected in current sources. I'm not sure.

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  12. I guess the associated scandals don't interest me as much as the art. That doesn't mean other people can't be interested in the scandals! ;-)

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  13. I always wondered if she knew they would be seen by the public. I love his work.

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  14. I think part of what amazed the public at the time was that there were something like a hundred Helga paintings - many large and incredibly time consuming. The shock was the time that must have elapsed, with them kept secret AND all the other work that poured out of this artist known for the quantity as well as the quality of his work. People were amazed that these could exist without a word having been leaked to anyone. And I think a lot of people assumed from those circumstances that she must have been more than just a model. I recall that Wyeth didn't seem interested in contesting the rumors... Again, they are some of his strongest and most unique work - and I think there is visibly more going on here than just a model being painted, but we may never know for sure what it was. Wyeth knows that's part of the mystique of these beautiful paintings.

    One thing many people don't realize about Wyeth, whose works look so simple, and so literal, is that they are laced with emotions. He was a man of strong feelings, and his subjects are seldom chosen or rendered on the surface only. Our museum here in NC has a painting of a young man in an aviator cap running awkwardly down a hillside. The brown, winter blasted hillside makes up almost the entire surface of the piece. There is a powerful feeling of desolation. The artist himself said that the painting was done just after he lost his charismatic and loving father, the painter N.C. Wyeth. The painting was his grief, and he worked on it an entire winter, painting that grief into every tiny brush stroke of the brown grass. Much of his work is about loss, regret, remorse - coupled with peace, stoic endurance, resignation. Not easy things to capture in paint - and he does it over and over again with many different subject. Like the Helga paintings, which have always seemed, to me, to be about the ephemeral quality of physical beauty - the way this too will pass and be lost. That's not all they are about, but I feel that wistfulness even as I see the quiet celebration of the light on her beautiful hair, on her skin, and on her strong Nordic features. I'm always moved when I see these.

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  15. I just discovered your blog via my sweet friend DCup. I'm going to take my time looking through it.

    I do remember when I first encountered Joni's music. It was "Song for Aging Children" in the movie of Alice's Restaurant. It was a Joni lookalike (sort of) singing it. In the credits she's listed as "Tigger Outlaw." I've googled and googled and I can't find out anything about Tigger!

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  16. I think you should all defer to Steve's extensive knowledge about art and artist; not mine! I'm a mere rube. In the case of the Helga paintings, jcf should definitely listen to Steve! :-)

    The art that I post on this blog is a way for me to explore and share what I've discovered; not so much what I've learned because there is so much to learn, firstly. And there are people much better at writing about it than I.

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  17. Deloney: welcome! I know exactly the scene in the Alice's Restaurant that you're referring to. Except I never took note of the singer's name in the credits.

    And DCup is sweet, isn't she?

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  18. These are just beautiful. Wyeth's appreciation of light brings tears to my eyes.

    You mentioned at dinner that these were worth a look; thanks, my friend. It's been a hectic couple of days, and I'd hate to have missed them.

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  19. Pagan - Thanks for the compliments. I happen to know something about this artist... You know more about many others. You still owe me a post with some insight into Warhol, for instance (grin).

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  20. I have to admit this about Andy Warhol: I don't really take him seriously as an artist and I find him amusing; an interesting personality and life in the weirdo fringes of high society.

    Some paintings, such as the repeated images of soup cans do nothing whatever for me. But occasionally I encounter a Warhol in a museum or web site that makes me grin. The cats are one such example. I discovered those over five years ago while rummaging through a discount bin in a retail store. I have not much to say about them except that they're fun and child-like. I imagine an interesting little kids book could be made with them - perhaps to teach about colors.

    I'm a lazy, self-centered blogger when it comes to art. I just go with whatever catches my fancy. But one day. Warhol stuff. Maybe even a video clip from Frankenstein. What a terribly bad movie that was! So, maybe I'll be doing everyone a favor not to show a clip from any of AW's movies! :P

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  21. If Andrew and Helga were lovers; which I'm not quite certain they were just by looking and looking at the nudes...how romantic to study a body so intimately and paint it: over and over agains, in so many different kinds of light.

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  22. Oh. What I found in the discount bin was a package of blank greeting cards.

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  23. I thought "Frankenstein" was one of Warhol's finer moments, actually. I saw it as a very overt elucidation of his sometimes more covert sense of "camp!"

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