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Andrew Wyeth – Way to Watercolor

June 22nd, 2017 10:02 am

Andrew Wyeth, one of the most famous U.S. artists of the 20th century, and even perhaps in history, found inspiration in daily life. As his popularity grew, so did the debates surrounding him and his art. A master of realism, he has been called “America’s best known and best loved artist”, as well as a commercially-viable mongrel. Wyeth watercolors turned ordinary moments in life, which many thought to be bleak and boring, into celebrated works of art. Today, many Andrew Wyeth watercolor prints are sold over the web at varying prices, in different sizes, and presented on many distinctive surfaces.

An Early Beginning

Andrew Wyeth began studying art at a very young age. His father, the illustrator Newell Convers Wyeth, recognized his son’s talent and fascination for art, and took interest in teaching him. While Andrew was learning the discipline and basics of traditional drawing, he discovered his passion for watercolors and began to experiment with them. His early paintings often included rocky landscapes and the sea.

Although Andrew learned the art of painting from his father, his pieces were very different from his father’s. While N.C. Wyeth used a full array of colors, and often painted lively figures, Andrew was more reserved in his art. He chose mostly to work with warm, earthy tones, and created somber figures and landscapes. The difference between the two artists becomes quite apparent when examining one Wyeth watercolor against another.

Famous Andrew Wyeth Watercolors

A well-known Andrew Wyeth watercolor entitled “Christina’s World”, is considered by many to be a rare representation of mid-20th century America. Created in 1948, the realist-style painting was inspired by Christina Olson, a neighbor suffering from a muscular deterioration that left the entire lower half of her body paralyzed. From his window, Andrew witnessed her crawling across a field on the Olson farm and was motivated to capture and immortalize the image. However, Andrew used his wife as a model for the painting.

Other famous Andrew Wyeth watercolors include: Bradford House, Wind from the Sea, Late Fall, Easterly, and the Helga Collection. Although (and perhaps because) the Helga Collection initiated a huge amount of criticism and controversy, the watercolor paintings of Andrew’s neighbor Helga Testorf remain some of his most widely-recognizable paintings in the art world today.

The Watercolor World of Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth has been an American icon in the art world since the mid 1930’s, when he had his first watercolor exhibition and completely sold out his paintings. His fans consider his art a remarkable display of beauty, with strong emotional vibes and symbolic content. Nevertheless, many art critics judge Wyeth watercolors to be ineffective, conventional, and lacking sentiment.

Many Andrew Wyeth watercolors are typical portrayals of the vastness of the American landscape, often focusing on familiar subjects such as the neighbors and the community. Andrew’s work also reflected the harsh life experienced across the U.S. during the depression and post-war eras, which in part, attributed to his popularity and success.

Wyeth watercolors display a limited use of hues and a muted palette, bringing attention to the “dull” aspects of life. He favored fall and winter scenes, which allowed him the opportunity to use earthy colors sometimes paired with a surprise splash of red or deep green to capture the viewer’s eye.

Andrew Wyeth’s Versatility

Aside from watercolor, Andrew Wyeth was also skilled in the use of egg tempera, which was introduced to him by his brother in law. Egg tempera is a media which combines powdered pigment with water and egg yolk to make a very unique texture and color distribution. Many times, he used the two together to create a one-of-a kind painting. The combination not only significantly added to the realism of his paintings, but also rendered them distinctive from those of other artists.

Museums – The Hidden Gems

May 12th, 2017 9:59 am

It is surprising that a country as small as the Netherlands counts more than 700 museums, an indicator of the Netherland’s cultural and historical wealth. The Museum Card or Museumjaarkaart is one of the cultural bonuses of living in The Netherlands. The Museum Card is a non-profit organisation with the aim of making museum visits more accessible to residents of the Netherlands.

Camille Boyer, spokesperson for the Museum Card explains, ‘Almost 30 years ago, an initiative was set up by a group of museums to create an instrument to generate more museum visitors and to encourage people to visit a more varied selection of museums.’

Some 400 museums are linked with the Museum Card organization and every Museum Card holder is allowed free entry into a museum that accepts the card. There are some exceptions where special or temporary exhibitions may charge a supplement fee.

‘There are 735,000 Museum Card holders and the amount is on the increase. Only 5 years ago, it was 315,000. The Museum Card is not subsidised, so we are completely dependent on the income generated by the purchase of a card. From the revenue, two thirds of the full price of an entry ticket is paid out to the museums when a free Museum Card visit is declared back to our organization. Part of the revenue is used for Museum Card overheads with residual money flowing back to the museums,’ says Camille.

When browsing the Museum Card website, it becomes clear that all information is in Dutch. Let this not discourage anyone, as the benefits of owning this card outweigh any deciphering of the Dutch language. The site lists all 400 museums under the heading; Welke Musea doen mee? They are listed according to name of Museum, Town and Province. Museum websites can be found on the Museum Card website for further information.

The Museum Card issues a printed newsletter and an e-letter consisting of tips for museum visits, though both are in Dutch.

PRACTICAL INFO

The Museum Card for Adults costs €39, 95 per year (first time purchase € 44, 95 incl. 5 euro administration costs). The Museum Youth card (up to 18 years) costs €19, 95 per year.

Where to buy:

  • Online through the website
  • At any large museum.
  • Try some obscure museums [sub-header]

One of the bonuses of the Museum Card is that it also opens doors to less well known museums. Most expats are aware of the main museums in Holland, yet there are also secret gems waiting to be discovered.

Teylers museum in Haarlem is Holland’s oldest dating back to 1784, the time of the Enlightenment. When most other museums were being renovated in the 1960s, Teylers remained intact so that all its collections of fossils, scientific instruments, coins and paintings can be viewed in their original setting. There is a free audio tour in English and French. The atmosphere is intimate as you step back in time. Teylers will satisfy fossil lovers and for science buffs, the laboratory has a fascinating display of assorted scientific instruments. Before you leave the room, look out for the fossil of a two horned monster from Egypt. It made me wonder if the Pharaohs saw this monster as a common pest or whether it was just an Egyptian freak of nature? Paintings and unique Rembrandt etches add variety, while there is also space for temporary exhibitions. Froukje Budding, spokesperson at Teylers gives her perspective. ‘Teylers seems unique in the world because of its distinctive 18th Century interior. Another rarity is that the museum houses both art and science collections because they came about in the Age of Enlightenment which strove to bring together all types of knowledge to represent the outer world’.

The Rembrandthuis in the heart of Amsterdam is a jewel. The exterior of the museum is deceivingly modern, but inside, Rembrandt’s world is revealed. There is a free audio tour in 6 languages which provides details about the house and how Rembrandt worked. The rooms display Rembrandt’s paintings from which the reconstructions are made, such as where his easel would have been, creating a very authentic atmosphere. You half expect the man himself to appear with brush and paint in hand. Paintings of his contemporaries, furniture and objects are also exhibited. Demonstrations are given on how Rembrandt made his etchings and how his paints used to be mixed by hand.

The Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam focuses on indigenous cultures around the world. There are three floors of exhibitions scaling the continents. An audio tour in English complements the exhibitions which concentrate on shamanism, animism and the influence of Buddhism on various cultures. The vibrant collection of Tibetan singing bowls, mandalas, prayer cloths and an array of lanterns made from multicoloured strips of cloth make for an eye-catching display. The sound of chanting monks in the background combines in such a way that you are transported to a world of quiet contemplation, something I would like to do more often! Luna Bremer, spokesperson at the Wereldmuseum adds, ‘Our most exceptional exhibitions are those of Tibet and Japan with objects nowhere else seen in the world, such as the Tibetan Temple which can only be found in Tibet itself.’ There is also a temporary exhibition. If you have time, the café, restaurant and shop are definitely worth a visit.

Museon is an educational paradise for children as well as adults. The emphasis at this museum is on interaction as a means to learning. Museon aims to pass on knowledge about man and his relationship with nature and culture. The ground floor hosts temporary exhibitions that are especially set-up for children, a great way to entertain little ones as well as older children. The permanent exhibition can be found upstairs; a space worthy of exploring. Discover geological artifacts such as fossils, rocks and minerals or flora and fauna from around the world. Look out for the stone-age woman from Scheveningen whose face was reconstructed from a skull discovered in The Hague area. Her face looks familiar, yet she lived in the pre-historic age! There is also an extensive Science and Technology section that includes interactive devices and instruments illustrating the laws of nature.

It seems that there are numerous benefits to owning a Museum Card. It encourages educational and cultural development and for some parents can be the answer to finding constructive amusement for their children.

Tips for exhibitions Spring 2011

  • The Mauritshuis (The Hague) Jan Steen 3 March – 13 June
  • The Mesdag Collection (The Hague) reopening 12 May
  • The Hermitage (Amsterdam) Splendour and Glory: Art of the Russian-Orthodox Church
  • 19 March – 16 September
  • Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden) Maori: A Family Exhibition until 1 May

Tips for kids

  • Some museums are interactive, an attractive alternative to going to a playground. You are also more likely to visit regularly when you have a museum card!
  • Gemeentemuseum (The Hague) The Wonderkamers or Wonder Rooms are interactive, concentrating on sound and music.
  • Naturalis (Leiden) National Natural History Museum
  • Science Centre Nemo (Amsterdam)
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