Andrew Wyeth was one of the most popular and also most criticized artists of the 20th century. His precise realist views of American rural life became icons of national culture and sparked endless debates about the nature of modern art.
His best-known painting, Christina's World (1948), has now become and American Icon. It shows a woman sitting in a field with her back to the viewer stretching towards a house on a hill. She was a neighbor of Wyeth's in Maine and had suffered paralysis from polio. It is held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Wyeth was the youngest of five children born to NC Wyeth and his wife Carolyn in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvannia. He was a sickly boy, so his parents had him schooled at home, and at the age of 15 he began studying art and illustration with his father. He excelled at art, and had his first exhibition at the Macbeth Gallery in New York at the age of 19, in 1937.
Andrew Wyeth was the first living US artist to be elected to the Royal Academy. In 2007, he received the National Medal of Arts from President George W Bush and became the first artist to be granted the Presidential Medal of Freedom.