Julia on the Swing, 1999 signed 'J. Wyeth' (lower left) oil on canvas 60 x 40in (152.4 x 101.6cm)
PROVENANCE: The artist. Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1999.
This work is included in the database of the artist's work being compiled by the Wyeth Center at the William A. Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, Maine.
For almost a century, the Wyeth family has cast an influential shadow on the American art world. Three generations of wildly successful painters, each displays a particular talent for capturing personalities and the simplest moments in life through their art. The family has resided in Maine since the 1930s, and much of their oeuvre includes elements of the surrounding landscape and sea, making the Wyeth name almost synonymous with the state.
In Julia on the Swing, a child playfully swings from a tree in her own backyard. A carefree image at first glance, it becomes circumspect upon further consideration of the raking light, which transforms the tree into an ominous glyph separating this child from the security of home as storm clouds gather. The artist sets up a dynamic contrast between the starkly lit farmhouse and child against the flat, nearly black, Franz Kline-like abstraction of the tree. This ambiguous, open-ended atmosphere is often considered to be one of Jamie Wyeth's most artistic qualities yet it can be difficult for the unfamiliar viewer. In each generation of the Wyeth artists' works, and in Jamie's in particular, dreamlike imagery is paramount while also intertwined with obsessive detail and 'ordinary' subjects. Julia on the Swing is a perfect example, while also acknowledging the illustrative style of N.C. Wyeth. Illustration as a genre relies on theatrical effects to convey emotion an essential quality in Jamie's oeuvre. As curator S.C. Larsen says, "James Wyeth understands the uniqueness of human beings and the unspoken mystery of individual personalities. His sense of drama is instinctive and often reminiscent of the complex staging of Howard Pyle or the dramatic compressed images of [his] grandfather."
This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.
ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.
If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.
Buyers' Premium and Charges
For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:
Buyer's Premium Rates 25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price 20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price 12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.
For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.
European Furniture and Works of Art