Wyeth draws upon long experience as a watercolorist in this large landscape, which employs the full range of his techniques and effects in this medium. From delicate hairline description to broad strokes and splattering, his method produces work that is both intensely descriptive and abstract. In "Wet Spring," the over-all sense of cold, gray weather is created by subdued color and stark value contrast, carefully observed outdoors near his home in Chadds Ford. Naturalistic in its basic intent, his view of tree and sky mirrored in still water also sets up a bold compositional grid that draws attention to the abstract qualitites of the surface. Typically, Wyeth counters the formal elements of design and technique with the brooding suggestion of narrative. His lone figure (actually the artist's wife, Betsy) turns away, huddled and anonymous. Overwhelmed by the massive tree trunk and scored by unexplained shadows that fall across its reflection in the water, Wyeth's solitary figure endures a bleak spring.
Date of Birth
Watercolor and gouache on heavy white wove paper
29 x 22 1/4 in. (73.66 x 56.515 cm.)
Bequest of Bernice McIlhenny Wintersteen