Archive for December 4th, 2010

I recently picked up a book, Andrew Wyeth: Autobiography, which is not really an autobiography but features over 130 of his pieces throughout his career along with short descriptions about them by the artist.  It’s quite a striking collection of images especially if you’re attracted to the Wyeth palette of  earthy browns and greys, as I am.

I have many favorites here  but perhaps the one I like best is this piece, Night Sleeper.  There’s a lot here to look at yet it maintains a quiet and  contemplative stillness that one associates with Wyeth’s work.  The two windows provide two separate examples of landscapes, the moonlit mill in one and the dam and millstream in the other,  that could be great paintings on their own.

  It’s all held together and anchored by the tee of the interior windows and the sleeping dog, an image I’m really drawn to.  There’s something about the posture and comfort that dogs adopt when sleeping that I find interesting, something that plays on a sense of reciprocity that I have with dogs, one where they watch out for me when they are  awake and I watch out for them when they are asleep.  Their sleep indicates a deep trust and a sense of security.

But the bit of this painting that makes the whole thing sing for me is the pale blue striping on the pillow or bag or whatever it is that the dog rests against.  That bit of color adds a whole layer of depth that would not be there otherwise and creates a beautiful harmony, echoing the moonlight that plays on the window frame on the right.  For me, it immediately brings to mind Henri Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy and its whole feeling.  They are very different paintings in many obvious ways but there is a ribbon of feeling that runs between them, in my mind at least.  I think this immediate visceral association adds a layer of appreciation of this painting for myself.  That little blue striping adds all the warmth of the Rousseau painting to my sense of this Wyeth painting.

In short, I think this painting is a peach.

Have a great Saturday.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: