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Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic
March 29, 2006 - July 16, 2006
Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day, 1959
Andrew Newell Wyeth, American
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Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic
March 29, 2006 - July 16, 2006

Andrew Wyeth, one of America’s most recognized and beloved artists, is the subject of a compelling retrospective that takes a fresh look at seven decades of accomplishment. Though linked to the realist traditions of Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Edward Hopper, Wyeth often transcends literal transcription to move into the realm of memory and imagination, inviting viewers into a strange and wondrous world. In Wyeth’s work, objects transform metaphorically into portraits of friends, family, and even the artist himself. The exhibition explores how Wyeth invests these objects with meaning, and how he will sometimes begin with figure subjects and then gradually paint people out of the picture, leaving the objects to tell the stories themselves.

Exhibition Minutes

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The exhibition includes approximately one hundred tempera paintings, watercolors, and drawings, many from the personal collection of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth. It focuses on recurrent themes in the artist’s work, such as domestic interiors, vessels and architecture, intimate and panoramic landscapes, friends and family, and still-life subjects, many of which reflect personal as well as universally shared emotions and concepts. The works are organized both chronologically and thematically to demonstrate how these subjects were born in Wyeth’s early career, became distinct in his middle period, and have been revisited in new and startling ways in recent years.

Wyeth’s method, based on observation and memory, and his style, which pushes toward simplicity and abstraction, has developed over the decades into increasingly symbolic and surreal imagery. Always popular for his fine-detailed temperas and freely brushed watercolors, Wyeth continues to combine technical mastery and emotional power in his most recent work, shown publicly for the first time in this exhibition.


The exhibition is generously supported by the Lincoln and Mercury Brands of Ford Motor Company; GlaxoSmithKline; and PECO, An Exelon Company. Additional support is provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the City of Philadelphia, and The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Promotional support is provided by NBC 10 WCAU; The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and; and Amtrak.
Lincoln Mercury GlaxoSmith Kline PECO


The exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


The curatorial team for Andrew Wyeth: Memory & Magic includes guest curator Anne Classon Knutson for the High Museum of Art, and, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kathleen A. Foster, the Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Curator of American Art, and Michael Taylor, the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art.


Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor


  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta • November 12, 2005–February 26, 2006
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art • March 29–July 16, 2006