'American Masters: Wyeth'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2018 / PBS)
Overview: 'Wyeth' tells the story of one of America's most popular, but least understood, artists. While his exhibitions routinely broke attendance records, art world critics continually assaulted his work.
DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, Andrew Newell Wyeth was a visual artist, primarily a realist painter, working predominantly in a regionalist style. He was one of the best-known U.S. artists of the middle 20th century.
In his art, Wyeth's favorite subjects were the land and people around him, both in his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and at his summer home in Cushing, Maine.
Wyeth often noted: "I paint my life." One of the best-known images in 20th-century American art is his painting Christina's World, currently in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This tempera was painted in 1948, when Wyeth was 31 years old.
'American Masters: Wyeth' is a stunningly beautiful film that that uses footage inspired by Andrew Wyeth's artwork to tell his life's story.
Coming from a family of successful artists, including his commanding father, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth was raised to be an artist. Unprecedented access to archival footage from the Wyeth family reveals his early immersion in a creative world.
Andrew Wyeth exhibitions consistently broke attendance records at the most prestigious art museums across the country. Detailing the stunning drawings and powerful portraits created in Pennsylvania and on the coast of Maine, 'Wyeth' shows the artist's mastery of the form and why his work appealed to audiences around the world.
Remarkably, the filmmaking team has access to many of the locations that provided continual inspiration to Andrew Wyeth during his lifetime. The PBS cameras visit these places - his studio and the Kuerner Farm in Chadds Ford, PA, the Olson House in Cushing, Maine (the location for his famous Christina's World) - and lovingly bring them to life.
He confidently continued to paint the people and places he knew, undeterred by the dramatic evolution of the art world. His sensational paintings of Helga Testorf landed cover stories in both Time and Newsweek. Interviews with family and friends - including Helga - demonstrate the effect on Andrew of living and working in the public eye.
Now, with the distance of time, art critics and historians are rediscovering and reinterpreting his work. Layers of complexity in the art are revealed and celebrated by some of the most preeminent scholars of American art.
Amidst these moving testimonies is the work. The stunning drawings, studies, paintings and powerful portraits that capture the "frozen motion" that Wyeth was seeking throughout his life.
Simply put, 'Wyeth' is an expose into one of the greatest artists of all time. Watching as PBS builds a life, layer by layer, much in the way Andrew Wyeth created his exquisite master paintings - meticulous study followed by layer upon layer of tempera - is as captivating now as it must have been to watch the master himself work. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.