Lot 11
  • 11

Andrew Wyeth 1917 - 2009

300,000 - 500,000 USD
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  • Andrew Wyeth
  • Dry Well (Rain Barrel)
  • signed Andrew Wyeth (lower right)
  • watercolor on paper
  • 20 3/4 by 29 3/4 inches
  • (52.7 by 75.6 cm)
  • Executed in 1958.


Mrs. Ledyard Cogswell, Jr., Loudonville, New York, by 1962
Cornelia Cogswell Rossi, New Haven, Connecticut, 1985
Sold: Independent Appraisers and Auctioneers, Pawling, New York, April 2004, pp. 18-20, illustrated
Spanierman Galleries, New York, 2004
Acquired by the present owner, 2005


New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Andrew Wyeth-Recent Paintings, October-November 1958
Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Temperas, Water Colors and Drawings, November-December 1962, no. 71, p. 50, illustrated
Tucson, Arizona, University of Arizona Art Gallery, Andrew Wyeth: An Exhibition of Watercolors, Temperas, and Drawings, March-April 1963, illustrated
Waterville, Maine, Colby College Museum of Art; Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Maine and Its Artists-1710-1963: An Exhibition in Celebration of the Sesquicentennial of Colby College, 1813-1963, May 1963-March 1964
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Baltimore, Maryland, Baltimore Museum of Art; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Chicago, Illinois, The Art Institute of Chicago, Andrew Wyeth-Temperas, Watercolors, Dry Brush Drawings, 1938-1966, April-June 1967, no. 117
Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, Andrew Wyeth, 1970, no. 124, p. 185, illustrated
Rockland, Maine, William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Andrew Wyeth: Something of the Artist, July-October 1988
Rockland, Maine, William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Hadlock Gallery; Christina Olson: Her World, September 2000-January 2001
New York, Spanierman Gallery, Maine: A Legacy in Painting, 1830 to the Present, New York, October-November 2005, illustrated in color
Naples, Florida, Naples Museum of Art, Andrew Wyeth & Family, January-May 2006


"RAIN BARREL," The National Observer, August 31, 1962, illustrated
"At the Wyeth Preview," Arizona Daily Star, March 19, 1963, illustrated
Betsy James Wyeth, Christina's World, Boston, Massachusetts, 1982, illustrated in color


This work is in excellent condition. The paper is hinged at the upper center, and upper left and right corners.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Born and raised in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Andrew Wyeth began spending each summer in Maine at the age of three, when his father, the celebrated American illustrator N.C. Wyeth, bought a rambling old sea captain’s house in Port Clyde at the end of the St. George Peninsula. N.C. encouraged all of his children to develop their artistic talents, but for Andrew, art was something best nourished in solitude away from a boisterous household and the shadow of a famous father. Andrew first began experimenting with watercolor in Maine, finding a freedom of expression in contrast to the strict artistic training he had received from N.C.. Andrew felt watercolor revealed an elusive side of nature and allowed him to instantaneously record the world around him.

From the family’s home in Port Clyde, Andrew explored the surrounding woods, fields and outlying islands, and gradually became acquainted with the local people. Behind the picturesque, weather-beaten facades of the farmhouses scattered along the St. George Peninsula, lobster fishermen, farmers and their families were often found living in conditions that had changed little since their ancestors first settled the region prior to the American Revolution. In 1939, at the age of 22, Andrew met Betsy James, his future wife, in Cushing, Maine directly across the St. George River from Port Clyde. Andrew and Betsy ultimately settled there for the summers and the surrounding landscape became an essential backdrop for Wyeth’s most celebrated works, including Christina’s World (Museum of Modern Art, New York) painted in 1948. In Cushing, Betsy introduced her husband to siblings Christina and Alvaro Olson and his attraction to both the family and their farm was immediate. Adam Weinberg notes, “As [Wyeth] has recounted time and again, his family history and personal experience in [Pennsylvania and Maine] infected his feeling for the land itself. ‘I couldn’t get any of this feeling without a very strong connection for a place…it’s that I was born here, lived here – things have meaning for me'" (Unknown Terrain: The Landscapes of Andrew Wyeth, New York, 1998, p. 21).

Dry Well was executed in 1958 on the Olson property in Cushing. According to Wyeth, “The pump in the Olsons’ pantry drew water from a cistern below the floor. Rainwater pouring off the high roofs above was fed by troughs and downspouts into this cistern. For weeks on end no rain fell. Alvaro put a big barrel on a drag, towed it to the spring in the pasture, covered the barrel full of water with a canvas and hauled it back to the house. This was their well the summer of the drought” (Andrew Wyeth, Meriden, Connecticut, 1970, p. 185). In Dry Well, as in many of Wyeth’s indelible images of Maine, the artist offers a poignant testimony to the resourcefulness and resilience of New Englanders, and to the beauty of their way of life.