EL PASO — The Wyeths can be called the First Family of American art...and much of the exhibit now showing at the Museum of Fine records our part of the world only a century ago.
N.C. Wyeth was a big man, an adventurer, an easterner who traveled west like his hero Frederic Remington. To learn the territory he became a cowboy and a mail carrier, So when he painted, the soul of the desert was inside of him. He even modeled for his own canvasses, to convey the ruggedness of the western pioneer... the original Marlboro men.
In addition to being one of the nation's accomplished realist painters in the early 20th century, N.C. Wyeth was a renowned illustrator of books and magazines. One oil painting in the exhibit was commissioned as a commercial for Coca Cola.
Andrew Wyeth would surpass his father N.C. in the national conscience. His iconic paintings often included open windows with figures looking out to contemplate both past and future. Working mainly in watercolor, Andrew's muted pictures of old weathered buildings conveyed in a single moment both melancholy and beauty.
His son Jamie Wyeth is still active today. He often turns animals into portraits, dealing in subject matter as mundane as the family dog which always sat faithfully next to his studio easel. Jamie even finds art in a pig sty.
Visitors to the Wyeths Across Texas exhibit will come to appreciate the first impressions which the desert southwest made to the world through painting, and the compelling legacy of three Wyeth generations.