Andrew Wyeth and N.C. Wyeth: A Psychodynamic perspective on father and son

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between two extraordinary artists, father and son--N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) and Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)--and their art. N.C. Wyeth, the father, the most famous illustrator of his day, painted scenes full of drama and action, often of men engaged in violent life and death struggles. N.C. was unable to separate from his powerful mother and yearned for his iconic father. He thought himself an artistic failure and dedicated himself to raising his children to be geniuses. The youngest son, Andrew Wyeth, who lived a "secret life," painted scenes often characterized by pathos: bleak and barren landscapes, leaden skies, tire tracks, gray framed houses, desiccated fields, and circling buzzards. In the father-son relationship, we often seen three themes perpetuated developmentally: (1) the son's identification with the innermost conflicts of his father; (2) the yearning for the iconic father of his youth; and (3) a continuation and disavowal of his father's life. These themes are played out in the relationship between Andrew Wyeth and his father.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-202
Number of pages16
JournalPsychiatry (New York)
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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