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Image of Government Property 10894

1991.12

Artist

Andrew Newell Wyeth

Title

Government Property

Creation Date

1954

Century

20th century

Dimensions

20 in. x 28 in. (50.8 cm x 71.12 cm)

Object Type

watercolor

Creation Place

North America, American, Maine

Medium and Support

watercolor on off-white wove paper

Credit Line

Gift of David M. Etnier, in memory of his father Stephen Morgan Etnier, Honorary Degree, 1969

Copyright

This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

1991.12
Andrew Wyeth astutely crops the view of Maine’s Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, reducing the architecture to its essential geometry and focusing on the texture of the whitewashed walls. Working within a drastically limited range of colors, the artist suggests all the signs of wear and tear that accompany life by the sea. While “Government Property” is almost abstract, it emotionally engages the viewer, like many of Wyeth’s works, with details such as the lone window that evokes the ocean panorama that the artist withholds. As a storyteller who knows how to keep a secret, Wyeth infuses his watercolor with a melancholy atmosphere and a touch of nostalgia. While his realist work is often seen as an opposition of abstraction and expressivity--tenets of the dominating artistic movement of the mid-1950s--this watercolor suggests that he employs reductionist aesthetic strategies “en vogue” among artists of the time across the stylistic spectrum.

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