Andrew Wyeth Jacklight Painting

Title: Jacklight
Artist: Andrew Wyeth
Painted: 1980
Medium: Painting / Print / Watercolor

About Andrew Wyeth Jacklight Painting

tempera on panel

43 1/2 x 49 3/4 inches.

Andrew Wyeth is best known for his masterful tempera paintings capturing the landscape and inhabitants that surrounded him in Pennsylvania and Maine. Painted in 1980, Jacklight exemplifies the artist's skillful combination of medium, composition, and subject to create a unique sense of place.  As the artist described his pictures: "Oftentimes people will like a picture I paint because it's maybe the sun hitting on the side of a window and they can enjoy it purely for itself. It reminds them of some afternoon. But for me, behind that picture could be a night of moonlight when I've been in some house in Maine, a night of some terrible tension, or I had this strange mood. Maybe it was Halloween. It's all there, hiding behind the realistic side" (Michael Kammen, "Andrew Wyeth: Resonance and Dissonance" in Unknown Terrain: The Landscapes of Andrew Wyeth, 1998, pp. 204-5).

Jacklight depicts a serene moment with a golden-hued deer in the setting autumn sun, tentatively foraging for food under a weathered, crow-like tree.  Wyeth knew this deer well, "I knew that local hunters were out trying to catch deer with their headlights. It's called deer jacking – totally illegal. There was a deer hanging around our property eating windfall apples, and it was almost a pet. I had made a study of the deer eating one of these apples. The next day I went up to Karl Kuerner's barn and found the deer there. It was strung up, gutted, with its nose almost touching the floor, and the apples I'd seen the deer eating the night before seemed to have mixed with the blood" (Andrew Wyeth to Thomas Hoving, Andrew Wyeth: Autobiography, 1995, p. 120).