About the Artist
James Browning Wyeth was born, in 1946, into a family of gifted American artists. His father, Andrew Wyeth, grandfather, N.C. Wyeth, and aunt, Carolyn Wyeth all contributed to his art education.
Early Life and Education
Wyeth was raised in Chadds Ford Township, Pennsylvania, home of the Brandywine School, established by artist Howard Pyle. Pyle was the teacher and mentor of N.C. Wyeth, who then became teacher and mentor to his son, Andrew.
At the age of 12, Wyeth studied academic subjects at home in the morning and then went to the N.C. Wyeth House and Studio, where his aunt Caroline, taught him, along with other students, the fundamentals of drawing and composition.
Wyeth often painted alongside his father, Andrew. Jamie’s early Portrait of Shorty was done when he was just 17. Shorty, a seclusive man who lived in Chadds Ford, is painted with skill and empathy, traits which Wyeth acquired at a young age.
A portrait of impresario and family friend Lincoln Kirstein followed. It was through Kirstein’s connections that Wyeth was able to study anatomy in a New York City morgue and become part of the art and cultural scene in New York.
Wyeth continued to hone his skills, painting landscapes, seascapes, animals and the people around him. He married Phyllis Mills in 1968, whom he used as a model. Although she was confined to a wheelchair after a car accident, Phyllis was able to drive carriage horses. The couple has a house in Chadds Ford, but Wyeth did much of his early work on Mohegan Island in Maine.
Wyeth has done many portraits, including an iconic portrait of John F. Kennedy, which was commissioned, posthumously, by the family. The Kennedys were not happy with the portrait, which now hangs in Boston’s Museum of Fine Art.
He spent some time at The Factory with Andy Warhol, and said what had attracted him to Warhol was his sense of wonder, which he tried to capture in several portraits that he did of the artist. Wyeth continues to paint the people, places and animals at the Tenants Harbor Lighthouse, which his parents gave him, on Southern Island in Maine. His studio is in the lighthouse tower.
Wyeth is a member of the National Academy of Design and the American Watercolor Society. His works can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and other fine venues.