Andrew Wyeth (1917- 2009) is one of America's greatest Realist painters. He is most well known for his painting Christina's World. The woman in the painting is his neighbor who was crippled by polio. Wyeth was inspired to paint this scene when he saw her one day crawling across an open field.
Christina's World has always been a very moving piece for me. The painting captures a gamut of human emotions, from isolation to courage and frustration to hope. It's a beautiful and realistic painting with a beautiful and very real message of life that resonates with viewers even today.
I love the attention to details in Wyeth's paintings, so I am naturally drawn to the paintings of contemporary artist Hale Johnson. There are several striking similarities between the works of Wyeth and Johnson. In addition to being Realists, both artists feature the rural landscape of New England in their paintings and primarily use a neutral color palette. I am quite fond of this painting by Hale Johnson:
Hale Johnson, Bucks County Homestead. The Harrison Gallery.
Here is a comparative look at a few of their works.
Wyeth, Long Limb.
Johnson, Yorkshire Dales
Johnson, South Thomaston Farm
The paintings of Wyeth and Johnson have a quality of timelessness. Without clues of modern day life, it's unclear if the viewer is looking at the present or the past. Although most of the paintings shown above were created in current times, the muted colors and fine details in the art works resemble the features of vintage photographs. This connection gives the paintings a sense of historical relevance.