Artist: Andrew Wyeth
Medium: Painting / Print / Watercolor
About Andrew Wyeth Sparks Painting
tempera on panel
44 x 47 3/4 in.
In 2001, at the age of 89, Andrew Wyeth painted Sparks, a work rife with autobiographical references, both overt and coded, depicting the grand stone hearth of his Chadds Ford mill house. Within the hearth, a metaphor for home and a vital, creative center, a fire, a dichotomous symbol of destruction and provision, rages. Sending forth burning embers and trails of smoke, the fire interrupts the clean, cool interior. A low ceiling and rustic wooden beams slope steeply towards the hearth and its grid of sand stone tiles cut a sharp diagonal path towards the fire. The frame, designed by the artist, further emphasizes this dramatic use of perspective. Knutson writes, "Wyeth imaginatively inhabits his painted interiors. The close perspective goes beyond implying the artist's presence to produce the sense that he has actually become the room" (Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic, pp. 77-78). On the right wall, Wolf Moon is rendered in reverse, reflected in a small courting mirror, a sign of the artist's presence. The watercolor, still in Wyeth's personal collection, depicts Kuerner's farm, as seen from Wyeth's home.