In town for events related to the opening of Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio, Jamie Wyeth spoke with us about how Timothy J. Standring, curator of the Wyeth exhibition, and the Denver Art Museum interpreted his and his late father's work.
Off the Wall
“It’s so off the wall, serious, and yet playful with all the different colors and shapes," he said. "The effect is quite dizzying actually. It’s fabulous."
Changes the Whole View Point on Andrew Wyeth
"Since I don’t like talking about my work, I’ll talk about Andrew’s. I think Timothy really grasped the fact that my father was a messy painter. He was more of a wild man than others thought. He was more of an abstract expressionist than a realist. I think the exhibition changes the whole view point on Andrew. My father would have adored it.”
“You can see how rough and abstract he [Andrew Wyeth] was in the initial stages. He was wild and loose. You might wonder how the sketches and final paintings could be made by the same person. I think that’s the excitement really.”
On the 'Fascinating' & 'Childlike' Andy Warhol
When asked which work(s) of art Jamie was most excited for visitors to see, he responded, “Probably my screen door sequence. I love screen doors and have been obsessed with them for a while now. They are somewhat of a departure for me. I was intrigued using found and real objects in my art. The one in the show is with Andy Warhol, a great friend of mine."
"I met Andy through a writer friend and ended up spending some time at The Factory. He was childlike as a person, fascinating really. When I was painting his portrait he used to say I was using too much pimple paint. He really did care about his appearance. He was also terrified of people. I thought since I had done so many drawings and taken so many measurements of Andy that I would paint him behind a screen door…perhaps fitting of his fear.”
Collaborating on Portraits
Many of Jamie's paintings include the signature of the person who sat for the painting. He said he asks “sitters" to sign the paintings too because "The sitter contributes as much as I do.”
How His Dog Kleberg Got His Famous Circle
Jamie chuckled a little before saying, “Kleberg came a little close to my easel one day and I thought I would paint a circle around his eye. The postman asked about the beautiful mark and it became so popular that I painted a circle around his eye [with moustache paint] every month.”