Skip to main content

Oct. 1 Art Minute: Andrew Wyeth, The Hunter

Art Minute, Art of the Week, toledo museum of art
Andrew Newell Wyeth, (American, 1917-2009) The Hunter. Tempera on masonite, 1943. Elizabeth C. Mau Bequest Fund. Gallery 06.

Admired for the sharp-focus technique of his paintings, Andrew Wyeth studied with his father, N. C. Wyeth (1882–1945), a noted illustrator and painter. The Hunter, painted as an illustration for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, was the work that brought Wyeth to national attention. He uses a startling and unusual point of view—high in the tree and peering down through the sparse leaves—to give this otherwise ordinary scene of a hunter in a fall landscape a heightened sense of drama. 

Instead of oil paint, Wyeth used the difficult medium of tempera, a paint made by mixing pigment with an egg medium. Because tempera dries very hard and very quickly, the artist must use the smallest of brushstrokes to build the composition, thus rendering the brushwork almost invisible. In addition, tempera added to the intensity and subtly of his colors. As a result, so real are the colors and textures of The Hunter, it seems almost possible to smell the crisp fall air and hear the footsteps of the hunter as he passes below.

This work is currently on view in Gallery 6 at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Art Minute is sponsored in part by Taylor Cadillac and American Frame.