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.
Help us make our collections more accessible by providing keywords to describe this artwork. The BCMA uses the
Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus to
provide consistent keywords. Enter a keyword in the field below and you will be prompted with a list of possible matching AAT preferred terms.