Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day by Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth painted Independence Day in 1961. His model, Tom Clark, is cut off from the rest of the composition by a column. Even then, he is not centered in the space created but pushed over to the far left. His attention is fixed on the outsized flag, so large that it billows off the right hand side of the paper. On the porch he is mostly in darkness but the flag is bathed in sunlight.

It can't be an accident that Wyeth chose a black model for this painting. The year 1961 was an important one for the Civil Rights movement. It was a year of the Freedom Riders and ongoing attempts at integration. The composition isolates Tom Clark from the flag, but this flag is broad and expansive, and capable of extending freedom to all Americans.

Andrew Wyeth, Independence Day, 1961

Andrew Wyeth, Independence Day, 1961


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