Our cover this month, Jamie Wyeth’s Declaration of Independence (40 in. by 30¼ in.), sold for $307,500 at Bonhams’ recent American Art auction in New York City on May 24, 2017. Wyeth hails from a talented family—his aunt, father and grandfather are all well-recognized American artists.
A Realist painter, Wyeth has had some of the most interesting commissions and assignments throughout his career. He was hired by Harper’s magazine as a court artist for the Watergate hearings and trials, assigned to a program jointly sponsored by NASA and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. to depict the activities of the Apollo moon mission and even exchanged portraits with Andy Warhol (they painted portraits of each other while Wyeth was in New York).
As a third generation artist, maintaining the family legacy must have been no easy task—but Wyeth was able both to channel some of his father’s and grandfather’s style and develop a technique all his own. His painting that appears on our cover this month is a good example; Wyeth’s grandfather, N.C. Wyeth, originally illustrated the same subject for a 1940 calendar. However, the junior Wyeth’s approach is credited as a modern perspective on Thomas Jefferson’s drafting of the Declaration of Independence. His strategic angle and focus on the crumpled drafts littering the table is said to accurately capture the labor of the momentous task.
Putting a new spin on something old is a concept that resonates well, no matter the profession. For one idea on how to modernize your practice, see Craig R. Hersch’s article “How to Create Your Own Podcast Series,” p. 26.