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The Wyeths have become something of a dynasty in American art, which began with N.C. Wyeth, who was known primarily as an illustrator for magazines and books. The family commitment continued with his son Andrew, who clung to the tradition of realism at a time when modernism reigned and he was often criticized for being out of synch with the mainstream. Jamie, son and grandson, has never wavered from representing the real world, although he has created a more vigorous approach to painting.

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George Bellows, Robert Henri, Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, John Marin, Louise Nevelson and N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. All lived or worked in Maine.

And all are represented in the 45 paintings, sculptures and assemblages in "American Treasures from the Farnsworth Art Museum" at The Society of the Four Arts. The Farnsworth, situated in Rockland, Maine, focuses on the state’s role in American art — the extent to which might surprise some viewers.

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At a press reception held Jan. 16 prior to the opening of the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s major retrospective of Jamie Wyeth’s work, Jamie Wyeth repeatedly expressed his unease at “revisiting his early work.” He said that he knew he “grew from his early work” but that it “doesn’t interest him” to see it now. While he may express such sentiments, those attending the exhibition will find much to fascinate and engage them as they follow his development as an artist. The exciting exhibition on the walls of the Brandywine galleries which have been painted in handsome hues of burgundy and maroon to complement the paintings, examines his distinctive approach to realism over the course of six decades, from his earliest portraits to the present. Landscapes of the Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine, family members and fellow artists (including the engaging portrait of Andy Warhol painted in 1976, whom he described as “very childlike”), are shown as well as domesticated and wild animals, many executed in “combined mediums,” the term he uses to describe his technique.

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The painting, "Public Health and Morale" (circa 1943) depicts an idealized American family against a backdrop of busy wartime factories, with a squadron of military airplanes over head. It is one of two commissioned by E.R. Squibb and Sons (now Bristol-Myers Squibb). The other painting, "The American Mother" (1941), was given to the Brandywine River Museum of Art by the company in 1977. The paintings were commissioned for use as advertising window displays, and were also used in internal publications.

“We are pleased that 'Public Health and Morale' will become part of the museum’s permanent N.C. Wyeth collection so that those who are inspired by the work of N.C. Wyeth, his son Andrew, and grandson Jamie, can enjoy this work for years to come,” said John Elicker, senior vice president, Public Affairs and Investor Relations, Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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The collection of Edith and C.C. Johnson Spink has given the St. Louis Art Museum 225 works valued at no less than $50 million, including two paintings by Norman Rockwell, two each by Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, and more than 200 works of Asian art.

The Rockwells and Wyeths are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But it is the Asian pottery, ceramics, bronzes, glass and jade, some thousands of years old, that will make the largest impact on the museum’s collection, officials said Tuesday.

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A gifted, restless, in many ways likable artist, Jamie Wyeth is the subject of a retrospective — his first in more than 30 years — at the Museum of Fine Arts. The show, which was curated by Elliot Bostwick Davis, the museum’s chair of the Art of the Americas, is full of incidental fascinations. But is it a body of work worthy of such lavish treatment in one of the world’s great museums?

I’m scratching my head. Wyeth, who has just turned 68, can paint. He can draw. He has lived an interesting and impressive life. But what’s missing from this show, which covers six decades and is made up of more than 100 oils, watercolors, drawings, and even a couple of humorous tableaux vivant, is a sense that it all adds up to something original — something that goes beyond the frisson of family gossip, the sentimentality of a compelling life story, or the romance of a storied place.

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The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston announced Monday that it has acquired a famous portrait of President John F. Kennedy.

The Kennedy family asked Jamie Wyeth to paint the portrait in 1967, after JFK was assassinated.

The then 20-year-old fledgling artist agreed to make an unofficial portrait that he would keep if the family didn’t approve of the finished work.

MFA Art of the Americas curator Elliot Bostwick Davis said the artist received mixed reviews.

“Robert Kennedy didn’t care for it — he found it was too painful a reminder of his brother,” Bostwick Davis explained, “whereas Jacqueline Kennedy felt it was a very striking and stirring likeness of her husband. As a result it remained in the artist’s own collection, and hence has come to the museum and come to the public.”

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This summer the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston will host Jamie Wyeth's first career retrospective.
Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946) -- born into one of the strongest family of artists in history with Andrew Wyeth (1917-2000) as his father and illustrator great N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) as his grandfather -- has always led a quieter, more behind-the-scenes life as a painter. Now, as he is a mere two years away from 70, he is reflecting on almost six decades of artistic production and allowing one of the top museums in the country to organize his first career retrospective. The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is working busily to finish this highly anticipated exhibition -- titled "Jamie Wyeth," on view from July 16 through December 28, 2014 -- which will include approximately 100 paintings, works on paper, illustrations, and assemblages in a variety of individual and combined media.

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The Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT has organized an exhibition that explores the use of extreme perspectives, unconventional angles and powerful narratives in works by N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), his son, Andrew (1917-2009) and Andrew’s son, Jamie (b. 1946). Wyeth Vertigo presents nearly 40 works from one of the most influential families in modern American art.

Highlights include the Shelburne’s own monumental painting by Andrew Wyeth, Soaring (1942-1950), and 39 works on loan from institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts as well as from private collections including those of the Wyeth family. Thomas Denenberg, The Shelburne Museum’s director and co-curator of the show, said, “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.”

Wyeth Vertigo will be on view at the Shelburne Museum through October 31, 2013 and is complemented by an exhibition catalogue published by the University Press of New England.

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The American art sale, which took place today, May 23, 2013 at Christie’s in New York, realized $50.8 million, the highest total that the category has seen since May 2008. 99 out of the 135 lots offered sold and 85% sold by value.

The auction’s top lot was Edward Hopper’s (1882-1967) oil on canvas painting Blackwell’s Island (1928), which brought $19.1 million (estimate: $15 million-$20 million). Hopper also took the sale’s second top spot with his watercolor on paper Kelly Jenness House (1932), which sold for $4.1 million (estimate: $2 million-$3 million) and set the auction record for a work on paper by the artist. The Hopper sales reinforced the artist’s continued popularity among buyers and the strong market demand for exceptional Modernist works.

A highly anticipated collection of six paintings by the Wyeth family of artists sold for upward of $2 million. The works by N.C. (1882-1945), Andrew (1917-2009), and Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946) were put up for sale by New Jersey-based businessman and avid collector of the Wyeths’ works, Eric Sambol. The highlight of the collection was N.C. Wyeth’s Norry Seavey Hauling Lobster Traps Off Blubber Island (1938), which garnered nearly $844,000.

Other significant sales from the auction included Norman Rockwell’s (1894-1978) Starstruck (1934), which brought over $2 million, exceeding its high estimate of $1.2 million, Georgia O’Keeffe’s (1887-1986) My Back Yard (1943), which was purchased by the Cincinnati Art Museum for $1.8 million (estimate: $1 million-$1.5 million), George Bellows’ (1882-1925) Splinter Beach (1913), which achieved $1.2 million (estimate: $500,000-$700,000), and Sanford Robinson Gifford’s (1823-1880) Tappan Zee (1879-80), which sold for $1.1 million (estimate: $200,000-$300,000).    

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