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Image of Government Property 10894


Andrew Newell Wyeth (Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, 7/12/1917 - 1/16/2009, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania)


Government Property

Creation Date



20th century


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

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, United States, Maine

Medium and Support

watercolor on off-white wove paper mounted on cardboard

Credit Line

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


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

Accession Number

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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