A painter of landscape and figure subjects in Pennsylvania and Maine, Andrew Wyeth is one of the best known American artists of the twentieth century. His painting style is representational with dreamy overtones, which in the American context of the post-World War II period was often termed Magic Realism. Deeply rooted in depicting everyday reality, Magic Realist painters like Paul Cadmus, Ivan Albright, George Tooker, Philip Evergood, and Wyeth tempered their realism with fantasy and wonder. Wyeth worked primarily in tempera and watercolor, often using the drybrush technique.
Wyeth was trained by his father, the famous illustrator N. C. Wyeth, who taught the aspiring artist that depicting mood through the subtleties of changing light and shadow was the ultimate goal of artmaking. Aside from home schooling provided by his parents, Wyeth was never formally educated in art. Like the artists mentioned above, Wyeth maintained a style strongly oriented toward realism during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism. Adhering to his convictions regarding the combination of realism and fantasy, Wyeth was snubbed by many prominent art critics. His paintings suggest rural quietude, isolation, and a somber mood and are usually devoid of modern-day objects like automobiles. Wyeth formed close relationships with virtually all of the people he painted, and the subject of "Young America" was no different. The boy was a neighbor of the Wyeth family and a friend of Wyeth's children.