Lot 25
  • 25

Jamie Wyethb.1946

300,000 - 500,000 USD
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  • Jamie Wyeth
  • Pumpkinhead–Self-Portrait
  • signed James Wyeth (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 30 by 30 inches
  • (76.2 by 76.2 cm)
  • Painted in 1972.


Acquired from the artist, 1974


Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum of Art, James Wyeth: Recent Paintings, November 1974-January 1975, no. 1
Greenville, South Carolina, Greenville County Museum of Art, Jamie Wyeth, January-March 1981
Portland, Maine, Portland Museum of Art; Columbia, South Carolina, Columbia Museum of Art; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Art Center, Jamie Wyeth: An American View, June 1984-January 1985
Leningrad, USSR, Academy of the Arts of the USSR; Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art; Dallas, Texas, Dallas Museum of Art; Chicago, Illinois, Terra Museum of American Art; Tokyo, Japan, Setagaya Art Museum; Milan, Italy, Palazzo Reale; Cambridge, England, Fitzwilliam Museum; Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum of Art, An American Vision: Three Generations of Wyeth Art, March 1987-November 1988, no. 91, pp. 60, 64, 204, illustrated p. 171
Chicago, Illinois, Terra Museum of Art; Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum of Art, N.C. Wyeth and His Grandson: A Legacy, June 1997-March 1998
Rockland, Maine, Farnsworth Art Museum; Wilmington, Delaware, Delaware Art Museum, Wondrous Strange: The Wyeth Tradition–Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, James Wyeth, June 1998-February 1999, no. 130, illustrated p. 131
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum of Art, Farm Work by Jamie Wyeth, June-September 2011
Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts; Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Brandywine River Museum of Art; San Antonio, Texas, San Antonio Museum of Art; Bentonville, Arkansas, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Jamie Wyeth, July 2014-October 2015, no. 43, pp. 91, 196, illustrated p. 98


Jamie Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth, New York, 1980, illustrated p. 30
Barbara Mahany, “Double Lift for Young Wyeth,” Chicago Tribune, December 13, 1987
Deborah Wilk, "Artistic Bloodline: Like Grandfather, Like Father, Like Son: Painting has been a Way of Life for Jamie Wyeth," Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1997
Deborah Weisgall, “Paying Tribute to Maine’s No. 1 Summer Family,” The New York Times, July 19, 1998
Teresa Annas, “The Wyeth Way,” The Virginian Pilot, April 21, 2007
Debbie Forman, “Boston Exhibit Shows How Artist Jamie Wyeth Sees the World,” Cape Cod Times, August 9, 2014
Jason Jascoll, “Major Jamie Wyeth Retrospective at Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford,” Lancaster Online, January 21, 2015, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Jamie Wyeth was born in 1946 and grew up on his family’s farm in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. One of the third generation of the Wyeth family of painters–the son of Andrew and grandson of Newell Convers (N.C.)–Jamie shares his father’s deep relationship to the Brandywine River Valley, a connection that manifested itself from an early age. Choosing to paint the landscapes and people in their immediate vicinities, both father and son demonstrate a heightened understanding and awareness of the world around them. Christopher Crosman remarks, “The seamless blending of dream-like imagery and closely observed detail is characteristic of many of the paintings of Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth, but nowhere is it more apparent than in the work of Jamie Wyeth” (Wondrous Strange: The Wyeth Tradition–Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, James Wyeth, Boston, Massachusetts, 1998, p. 127).  

Pumpkinhead–Self Portrait demonstrates this dreamlike imagery for which Wyeth is most celebrated. Dressed entirely in black, the artist stands slightly off center amid an anonymous autumn landscape. Jack-o'-lanterns appear in several of Wyeth's paintings, and when asked about his attraction the artist responded, “If you look at them, they’re rather haunting. It’s a sneer, not a grin. That’s what intrigued me–go beyond the sort of cuteness of a pumpkin” (“After Six Decades, Painter Jamie Wyeth Continues to Surprise,” Here & Now, Interview by Robin Young, wbur, Boston, Massachusetts, August 14, 2014, radio).

This surreal and slightly eerie self-portrait also displays Wyeth’s technical ability and his achievement in the realist tradition. He was elected to the esteemed National Academy of Design in New York in 1969 at the age of 23, making him the youngest artist to be recognized since the organization’s founding. The Academy requires all members to submit a self-portrait as part of the induction process, and Wyeth entered Pumpkinhead upon its completion in 1972. Reflecting on the process, he remarked, “I didn’t want to do myself in a self-portrait, but I love pumpkins. It’s the sinisterness, the Halloween I’ve always loved. It’s a little bit edgy. So I did it and of course they were furious and rejected it” (Ibid). Following the Academy’s rejection of Pumpkinhead, Wyeth submitted a semi-nude self-portrait to secure his lifelong membership.