Bare Trees: Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009) loved painting trees in winter. It's actually difficult to find paintings by him of trees in full leaf, although he did paint the occasional evergreen. In almost all of Wyeth's work, whether figures, interiors, landscapes or dormant trees, there is an intimation of death in the midst of life, or, as in "Spring Beauty", of the abrupt appearance of life in the midst of death. 

Pennsylvania Landscape tempera on panel 35"x47" 1942

Sycamore 1982

Sycamore Tree and Hunter 1943

Spring Beauty 1943
 Here is a time I used pencil and Higgins' ink, too, to make the silver gray of the bark, for the texture of that bark was fascinating to me. Now this is far from the colorful "impressionism" of my earlier works. Here I'm slowly changing. I'm seeing things in a clearer way.
- Andrew Wyeth
Long Limb tempera on panel 48" x 72" 1998

Branch in the Snow watercolor 21.38"x30" 1980

Pine Baron tempera on panel 1976

February 2, 1942

The Ax watercolor
I'm a secretive bastard. I would never let anybody watch me painting... it would be like somebody watching you have sex - painting is that personal to me.
-Andrew Wyeth  


  1. Fabulous images Taryn, trees are far more interesting when naked, wonderfully expressive! I'm really enjoying these posts. Thank you

    1. Thank you Nigel. I agree with you about clothed trees vs. unclothed. Wyeth has so many winter tree paintings that it's pretty overwhelming.

  2. Yes. Absolutely stunning, aren't they? And what a great quote at the end! : )

  3. They are amazing. I also feel that there is quite often something eery in his paintings, a slight slight threat.
    And yes, the quote at the end is just great.

  4. Poor Andrew. He wanted so to be an impressionist painting but could not get beyond his obsessive, compulsive need for detail and realism.


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