FW Art Museum Reopens with Wyeth Exhibition

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 27, 2010 at 3:17 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--The contractors are gone, the galleries finished and the flower ladies are preparing their opening night bouquets. And when Fort Wayne’s fabulous museum of art reopens after a seven-month expansion and renovation, it will do so in the company of some very classy gentlemen.

Charles: They were able to see something special in the American character. Because you’ll see America in the faces you’ll see America in the kind of things depicted.

For its first exhibit in its new, improved facility the museum has brought together works of America’s premier art dynasty, the Wyeths, patriarch N. C., son Andrew and grandson Jamie..the reclusive family of genius painters whose images of their beloved Maine homeland helped garner American art the global respect it now enjoys. N. C. Wyeth began as a book illustrator…this is from ‘Treasure Island’. Illustrating paid the bills while he built his reputation as a fine artist with scenes of the Maine coastline. Son Andrew exceeded even his father’s fame, crafting lovely images of the tools of the fishing trade, and the men who went down to the sea in ships…leaving his own son, Jamie, some immense shoes to fill.

Charles: Big responsibility to walk in the shoes of your dad, Andrew Wyeth my God!! It might make some people not even want to try to draw and paint because the comparison’s going to be obvious and you would think maybe dad’s always going to be better.

But Jamie’s reputation equals those of his famous dad and granddad. This is called Bean Boots for the L. L. Beans worn by this fisherman, mandatory equipment for all who troll the ocean off the coast of Maine. Like his father and grandfather Jamie Wyeth was enthralled by what we like to call the American spirit..simplicity, hard work, love of the land.

Charles: They viewed themselves as working people they really just kind of put your boots on and go to the studio and make paintings that’s what they did. Somebody else built boats, somebody else fished the seas.

They didn’t just know their place they relished it, celebrating the distance traveled, anticipating the distance yet to go. Eric Olson reporting out in ‘Your Country’.

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