Andrew Wyeth, born in 1917, was one of America’s best known and most popular visual artists from the mid-20th century. Wyeth’s painting, Night Nurse, was made in 1995 after his other famous works such as Christina’s World, 1948, and Braids, 1979. Wyeth’s Night Nurse is now being displayed at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock. When the viewer first walks into the Masterworks section of the Arkansas Art Center, Night Nurse is the first painting they will see. It is displayed at eye level and the spectators are capable of viewing it as the artist intended but only on one side. After Wyeth’s father’s death in 1945, he began to paint watercolor and tempera landscapes and mixed his own pigments to create his distinctive subdued palette. His portraits are almost photographic in their degree of realism. Wyeth’s Night Nurse is egg tempera on panel painting and is 18 in. x 23 7/8 in.
Andrew Wyeth’s Night Nurse displays a blonde girl in a white dress, her back to the viewer, walking away from a dark house in what appears to be a fog. The painting also shows a white wooden chair and a white fence on the porch that stands out immediately in contrast to the house’s dark wooden walls. It is said that the female nurse in the painting is Pam Cowe. She posed several times for Wyeth mostly during his hip replacement surgery. The idea for Night Nurse started when he saw Pam running out of the house in Maine to smoke a cigarette. The uses of dark and light colors dominate the entire painting. Her white dress, white chair, and white fence all seemed to be connected. They also seem to be abstracted with the dark house, dark forest, and foggy weather in which the woman is headed towards. When looking at the painting the first thing one would notice is the opaque and muted tone. There is no color other than white and no natural organic shapes other than the organic lines of the chairs, fence, knobs, and dress on the girl. It seems that the only natural pieces are...
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