7P9M1631 The Virgin

Andrew Wyeth (American, born 1917)
The Virgin, 1977
Collotype
34 ¾ x 27 inches

Artist Andrew Wyeth has painted in his own realistic way throughout the various isms and developments of twentieth century art. His work appears to be absolutely real, but is based on abstract structuring and design. Wyeth works primarily with the natural landscape or portraits using the exacting egg tempera medium. His extraordinary skills to capture a moment in time and a feeling of place, and that universal experience of life, people, and place affirms his position as one of America’s most important and innovative painters in the second half of the twentieth century. His “Helga” series, started in 1972, consisting of 247 images, fourteen years to complete, has become a landmark in contemporary painting. The series, recorded in temperas, drybrush, watercolors, and drawings, represents observation rendered in the purest way, yet with deep emotional involvement. “Helga” has been reproduce using an intricate process called collotype. Collotype is a hybrid letterpress/lithography process. However, in the “Helga” prints the plates are printed damp. Kent B. Kirby in his Studio Collotype describes the process. “Dichromate activated gelatin is dried above its melting temperature in a light proof oven. After being contact printed (UV), the plate is washed. The gelatin absorbs water and expands in opposite proportion to its exposure. This reticulation generates an inconsistent dot pattern which when printed can appear as continuous tone. Ink adheres to the hardened, exposed gelatin and is rejected from the soft, saturated gelatin.”