Friday, August 7, 2020

"Good Boy"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

Jamie Wyeth, the son of the great artist Andrew Wyeth and the grandson of the illustrator and artist N. C. Wyeth is a giant to me.  He remains tireless and prolific - my favorites are portraits of Andy Warhol and the Soviet dancer Rudolph Nureyev, his gigantic portraits of pigs and any painting with a dog.

Meet Kleberg, Jamie Wyeth's yellow lab.  As the story goes, told by Jamie in a Saturday Evening Post article, one day, Kleberg got a little too close to his easel and he spontaneously painted a black circle around Kleberg's eye to make him look like Petey from the Little Rascals.  Kleberg seemed to enjoy the extra attention so Jamie switched to a black mustache dye that lasted longer, remarking "Kleberg would come to me when it needed touching up."  And that circle remained for the rest of Kleberg's years.

The painting Kleberg includes a Victorian skep or beehive, woven from straw - essentially a basket placed upside-down - used to house bees for some 2000 years. The books on the shelf reflect Jamie's favorites, including Treasure Island, illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle's illustrated Pyle's Book of Pirates and a biography of John F. Kennedy, who's portrait Jamie was commissioned to paint.

Kleberg can be viewed in the Denver Art Museum.

Please click here for a larger view.

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