|Born||July 6, 1946 (age 66)
|Works||View Complete Works|
James Browning Wyeth is a contemporary American artist and realist painter. He is the son of renowned artist Andrew Wyeth, and grandson of the famous N.C. Wyeth. Jamie portrays people, landscapes, and animals of the rural Delaware and Pennsylvania area in which he resides. His style comes from a background of working with his father, and also studying his grandfather’s works of art. Although he primarily does oil paintings, he is also skilled in drawing, etching, egg tempera, watercolors, and lithography. He has illustrated books, painted portraits of famous American subjects, and many of his works are displayed in American art galleries today.
Jamie, the youngest of two sons, was raised on his parents’ farm called The Mill, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He attended public school for six years, and was then privately tutored by members of his family. The focus of his private education was in art, and at age 12, he studied art intensely with Carolyn Wyeth, Jamie’s aunt and a well-known artist. His home environment was filled with art work and props, used by his grandfather N.C. Wyeth. Jamie was exposed to art works of his father Andrew, numerous art books, art exhibitions, art collectors, and art historians.
In the early 1960’s, Jamie painted with his father, who was his friend, and his most-admired painter. In 1965, Jamie traveled to New York City, seeking new and different artistic resources. He also wanted to learn about and draw the human body, and studied human anatomy at a morgue. Jamie was very much like his grandfather in the respect that he wanted to experience first-hand, what subjects looked like, or how they worked, before drawing or painting them.
In 1968, Jamie married Phyllis Mills, of the prominent duPont family. Phyllis, a subject of many of Jamie’s paintings, had been crippled in an earlier car accident, and used crutches and a motorized chair to get around. From 1966-1971, Jamie served in the Delaware Air National Guard, and also bought his parents’ lighthouse home, Tenants Harbor Light, in southern Maine, which provided him solitude, and the subject matter that he enjoyed most.
Initially, critics did not have very favorable reviews of Jamie Wyeth’s works, because they were comparing his style and subject matter to his father Andrew’s, and grandfather N.C.’s works of art. Although his inspiration of subjects comes from N.C.’s sense of personal involvement to grasp the subject matter, and his sense of portraying his subjects realistically, which comes from his father Andrew, Jamie had developed a style of his own.
Jamie’s realistic paintings are characterized by very strong images, with sharp contrasts in his landscapes and portraits. He began using oils, because he enjoyed the texture, smell, and look of the oil paints. He prefers subject matter of animals such as pigs, chickens, and dogs, because that is what he is around most on his farm, and he has to know personally about his subjects. His special attention to textures is seen in his brushstrokes, and varnish is used for sheen.
Jamie uses a wider palette of colors than his father, and his paintings have more vivid colors. Jamie has a broader artistic reach than former generations, and excels in drawing, etching, lithography, egg temperas, watercolors, and mixed media as well. His extensive travels abroad to study the Flemish and Dutch masters of Europe also made him a well-rounded artist, allowing him to produce a substantial amount of graphic works. Jamie has a rather unique ability to translate his observations into a realistic, visual experience for the viewer, using a variety of styles, ranging from realistic to eerie.
Some of Jamie Wyeth’s most famous animal paintings are Portrait of a Pig, Angus, Islander, and 10W30. His self-portrait is entitled Pumpkinhead, and he has illustrated two children’s books titled The Stray, written by his mother, Betsy. He also drew for Cabbages and Kings. Sammy in the Sky, written by Barbara Walsh, is Jamie’s latest book illustration, and his pictures evoke every emotion portrayed in the written word.
At the age of eighteen, Jamie was asked to paint the portrait of John F. Kennedy, after his death, to be hung in the White House. He has also painted portraits of famous subjects such as Jimmy Carter, Andy Warhol, and Rudolf Nureyev. His works and art collections are displayed in the National Gallery, the Terra Museum of American Art, the Brandywine River Museum, the Farnsworth Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery in San Francisco.
Jamie Wyeth is actively involved in the art community, and was appointed council member of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1972, became a member of the board of governors of the National Space Institute in 1975, became a member of the National Academy of Design and American Watercolor Society, and received honorary degrees from Elizabethtown College, Dickinson School of Law, and Pine Manor College.