Throughout his six-decade-long career, Andrew Wyeth painted lonely rural landscapes, closely observed portraits, and crisp interior still lifes in a characteristically realistic and finely detailed style. His landscapes are almost entirely of locations in the Chadds Ford and Brandywine area of Pennsylvania and in coastal Maine, the places where he grew up and lived all his life. Wyeth's close friends and neighbors, and their homes, were frequently the subjects of his intensely personal paintings. The Olsons—Christina Olson in particular, shown in his most famous painting, Christina's World, 1948 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York)—and their farm were repeatedly depicted by the artist. Wyeth's interior scenes and architectural views often focus on windows and doorways, and Wind from the Sea is one of the artist's earliest paintings of a window. It is a scene from a room on the top floor of the Olson house in Maine, looking over the surrounding landscape.
Wind from the Sea, painted a year before Christina's World, captures a moment on a hot summer day when Wyeth opened the seldom used window in an attic room. The picture is eerily alive with movement as the wind blows the curtains into the room. The tattered, transparent fabric is light and airy, with small embroidered birds along the edges that seem ready to dart into the house. In contrast, the sun-bleached wooden window sill looks sturdy and solid. The interior of the room is dim, while the landscape beyond the open window is stark and bright. The tree-lined view includes no figures, but as in so many other works by Wyeth, a strong sense of their presence is evident. Two well-worn tire tracks running across the dirt lead the viewer's eye toward the sea in the distance. The close vantage point and the tightly cropped window frame at the edge of the painting create the illusion that the viewer is actually looking out a window.
Wind from the Sea is an iconic example of Wyeth's landscapes, as well as one of the earliest examples of his use of windows and his often unique choice of vantage point. Three preparatory studies for the painting accompanied the gift. All four works were bequeathed to the Gallery by Charles H. Morgan. Wind from the Sea is the second painting by Wyeth to enter the National Gallery's collection; Snow Flurries, a 1953 tempera painting, was given in 1977.
Marks and Labels
The artist; sold January 1948 through (MacBeth Gallery, New York) to Clay Bartlett [1907-1955], Manchester, Vermont; sold February 1952 to Charles Hill Morgan [1902-1984], Amherst; his estate; gift 2009 to NGA.
- One Hundred and Forty-fourth Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1949.
- Amerikanische Malerei: Werden und Gegenwart, Berlin Cultural Festival, Rathaus Schöneberg, Austellungssaal; Schloss Charlottenberg, West Berlin, 1951, no. 65.
- Paintings and Drawings by Andrew Wyeth, The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire; The Wililam A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Rockland, Maine, 1951, no. 12, repro.
- Loan Exhibition of Seventy XX Century American Paintings Chosen by the Art Critics, Wildenstein Gallery, New York, 1952.
- Exhibition of Paintings by Andrew Wyeth, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, 1953, no. 6, repro.
- Paintings and Prints from Connecticut Valley Collectors, Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts; George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts; Connecticut Valley Historical Museum; Fine Arts Department, The City Library, Connecticut, 1954.
- Sixty-first American Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago, 1954.
- Five Painters of America, Worcester Art Museum, 1955.
- Andrew Wyeth, M.H. DeYoung Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 1956.
- Andrew Wyeth, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1956.
- Andrew Wyeth, Delaware Art Center, Wilmington, 1957.
- Wyeth Exhibition, Hilson Gallery, Deerfield Academy, Massachusetts, 1957.
- The Museum and Its Friends: 2nd Loan Exhibition, Eighteen Living Americans, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1959.
- Andrew Wyeth: A Retrospective Exhibition of Tempera and Watercolors, Charles Hayden Memorial Library, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 1960.
- Andrew Wyeth: Temperas, Water Colors and Drawings, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 1962, no. 6, repro.
- Maine and Its Artists, 1710-1963 [Exhibition in Celebration of the Sesquicentennial of Colby College], Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1963-1964.
- Watercolors by Andrew Wyeth, Flanders Hotel, Ocean City, New Jersey, 1964.
- [Exhibition], Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, Middleton, Connecticut, 1965.
- Andrew Wyeth: Temperas, Watercolors, Dry Brush, Drawings, 1938 into 1966, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Baltimore Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago, 1966-1967, no. 25, repro.
- Andrew Wyeth, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1970.
- Andrew Wyeth: Paintings and Drawings, St. Paul's School, Art Center in Hargate, Concord, New Hampshire, 1971.
- Quiet Valley, Quiet Art, Reproductions of Paintings by Andrew Wyeth, Dunedin Art Gallery, New Zealand; Shell House, Wellington, New Zealand, 1972.
- The Art of Andrew Wyeth, M.H. DeYoung Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 1973.
- Andrew Wyeth, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 1974.
- Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth: Kuerners and Olsons, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1976-1977, no. 144, repro.
- Andrew Wyeth in Facsimile, United Bank of Denver, 1977.
- Representations of America, Pushkin Museum, Moscow; State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad [now Saint Petersburg]; Palace of Art, Minsk, 1977-1978.
- Andrew Wyeth, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1980.
- Maine Light: Temperas by Andrew Wyeth [Celebrating the opening of the Charles Shipman Payson Building], Portland Museum of Art, Maine, 1983.
- Loan to display with permanent collection, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, 1984-2009 (the painting was lent elsewhere for short periods during this 25 year period).
- Loan to display with permanent collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1987.
- The Wyeths: N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, James Wyeth, Hammer Galleries, New York, 1995.
- Andrew Wyeth at 80: A Celebration, Portland Museum of Art, Maine, 1997.
- Unknown Terrain: Landscape of Andrew Wyeth, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1998.
- Hadlock Gallery - Christina Olson: Her World, Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine, 2000-2001.
- Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic, High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2005-2006, no. and pl. 20.
- Anderson, Nancy. "Andrew Wyeth, Wind from the Sea." Bulletin / National Gallery of Art no. 41 (Fall 2009): 16-18, repro.
- Torpy, Janet M. "The Cover." JAMA--Journal of the American Medical Association 307, no. 21 (June 6, 2012): 2219, 2226, cover, color repro.
- Anderson, Nancy. "Andrew Wyeth: looking Out, Looking In." National Gallery of Art Bulletin 49 (Fall 2013): 34-35, repro.
- Benfey, Christopher. "Wyeth and the 'Pursuit of Strangeness.'" New York Review of Books 41, no. 11 (June 19, 2014): 31-32, color fig.
- Cooper, James F. "Andrew Wyeth: Windows of the Soul." American Arts Quarterly 31, no. 3 (Summer 2014):
- Kennicott, Philip. "From Wyeth, Windows That Look Out on a Prison." Washington Post 137, no. 174 (May 28, 2014): C1-C2, color fig.
- Lyon, Christopher. "Artful Volumes: Christopher Lyon on This Season's Notable Art Books." Bookforum 21, no. 3 (Sep/Oct/Nov 2014): 16-17, color repro. (Exh. cat. review.)