Shelburne Museum exhibit includes works by N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth

NEWS RELEASE
March 4, 2013

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SHELBURNE, Vt.( March 4, 2013) Wyeth Vertigo, a new exhibition opening June 22 at Shelburne Museum, examines extreme perspectives, unconventional angles and powerful narratives in 36 works by N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth, three generations of one of the most influential families in modern American art.

“Wyeth Vertigo explores the edgy and unresolved tensions encoded in the seemingly realistic works by N. C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth,” said Shelburne Museum Director Thomas Denenberg, co-curator of the exhibition. “The exhibition expands our understanding of the work of each Wyeth, while tracing a key theme that unifies the generations. Imaginative, playful, thoughtful, somber—at times even magical, the work of the Wyeths tells the story of twentieth-century America.”

The exhibition is organized around Shelburne Museum’s monumental painting Soaring by Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) and preparatory drawings made for Soaring on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In Wyeth Vertigo, Soaring and its preparatory drawings will be on view together for the first time. Wyeth Vertigo includes 39 works on loan from other museums and private collections, including several directly from the Wyeth family. Lending institutions include the Whitney Museum of American Art, Portland Museum of Art, Farnsworth Art Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and others.

Soaring, a powerful post World-War II work completed by Andrew Wyeth in 1950, positions the viewer directly above turkey buzzards in flight gazing down from a dizzying height on a wheaten field and diminutive white farm house.

“Soaring is, in the typical Wyeth modus operandi, both beautiful and macabre,” said Joyce Hill Stoner, co-curator of the exhibition and the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Material Culture at the University of Delaware.

Building on Soaring’s vertiginous perspective, the exhibition includes works by Andrew’s father, N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) and Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946), who is Andrew’s son. Featured works such as Dark Harbor Fishermen by N.C. Wyeth and Spindrift by Jamie Wyeth, like Soaring, offer the viewer unexpected view points and highlight themes endemic to all three artists’ works.

“N. C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth all painted manipulated and disquieting views of nature: birds, islands, waves, cliffs, and chasms. Nature is rarely depicted as comforting,” Stoner noted. “This exhibition provides an orientation into the imaginative disorientation and confusion that is Wyeth Vertigo.”

A catalogue published by University Press of New England accompanies the exhibition and will include essays by Stoner, Denenberg and Stanford University Professor Alexander Nemerov. Wyeth Vertigo opens June 22 and runs through October 27.

About Shelburne Museum: Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont is one of North America’s finest, most diverse and unconventional museums of art, design and Americana. Over 150,000 works are exhibited in a remarkable setting of 38 exhibition buildings, 25 of which are historic and were relocated to the museum’s beautifully landscaped 45-acre campus. Shelburne’s collection includes works by the great Impressionists Claude Monet, Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas as well as a prized collection of folk art including trade signs, weathervanes and quilts. Shelburne Museum opens on May 12, 2013 and will remain open year round with the opening of the new Center for Art and Education in late summer.

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