DAYTON, OH.- Andrew Wyeth, arguably one of America's most famous artists, died in 2009 at the age of 91. The Dayton Art Institute placed on view, for a limited time, Wyeth’s painting, Ring Road of 1985, in recognition of the artist’s enormous legacy. Wyeth is often described as a “magic realist” painter for his crisp, detailed technique, combined with the otherworldly qualities of mood he brings to his art. He painted the people and places he knew best in Pennsylvania and in Maine. Among these is Christina’s "World of 1948", which hangs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Wyeth also achieved a great deal of notoriety in 1986 when he revealed the existence of the so-called Helga pictures, 246 works of art featuring one of his neighbors. He had kept these works hidden for years – even his wife (who was his agent) did not know about them.
"Ring Road" depicts a snow-covered road in Chards Ford where Wyeth lived. At the bottom of the road is a bare tree next to a dilapidated structure. The yellow road sign signaling a curve in the road jumps out of the composition as the only brightly colored element; everything else is silent and gray. Painting the same locations over and over year after year, Wyeth became attuned to the most subtle changes in season, light and atmosphere.
About his painting, Wyeth said, “I go beyond the subject. That’s the summation of my art. Emotion is my bulwark. I think that’s the only thing that endures finally. If you are emotionally involved, you’re not going to be easily changed. But if it’s purely a technical experience, that’s going to be very short-lived. Both technical and emotional have got to be on even terms to be good.”
"Ring Road" is on view in Gallery 204 of the Dicke Wing of American Art. General admission to the museum is free, courtesy of the Chase Free Admission Endowment Fund (please note that special exhibitions and art programs carry an admission fee). Ring Road is on loan to The Dayton Art Institute from a private collection.