Highbrow

Evaluating Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth was among America's most famous artists, but was he among its best? In The Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout notes that the recently deceased Wyeth has always suffered at the hands of art critics. "At a time when the vast majority of serious American art critics believed abstraction to be the One Best Way to paint, it was hugely irksome that America's most successful painter should have been firmly committed not just to representation, but to near-photographic realism." Teachout predicts "at least a partial revaluation," which will be based not on Wyeth's popular landscapes, but rather his more unknown watercolors, "an on-the-spot medium that does not allow for second thought…[and] forced him to be free." Teachout predicts Wyeth will "be remembered as a minor master who frequently failed to live up to his talent."