Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jamie Wyeth's portraits of Rudolf Nureyev at the Museum of Fine Art, Saint Petersburg Florida.

If you are a ballet fan, and particularly of Rudolf Nureyev, or are entranced by figurative art, you can stop reading here. This show is for you.

The artist is not the Wyeth you've heard of, or seen in books, Andrew. This is his son Jaime, who from an early age was groomed by the family to be the third-generation chapter of a budding arts dynasty. No less than Lincoln Kirstein (who admittedly was a close family friend) referred to him as "the finest American portrait painter since the death of John Singer Sargent" (!). In my opinion, this was a monumental lapse in judgment or a moment of hyperbolic sentimentality.

This show is not the same as the one in the Boston MFA, which was a retrospective of 100 plus works, but only nineteen (19) of the portraits Wyeth painted of Rudolf Nureyev in the 1970's or done later- from photographs. The Boston show is traveling to the Walton-Walmart Crystal Bridge Museum.

There are also a few of the artists' notebooks in glass cases, a room full of costumes worn by Nureyev in the ballet, another full of Nureyev dance posters by photographers and loop video of the dancer. To a dance aficionado, a feast, to an arts lover, slim pickings and lots of filler.

Jaime Wyeth is 68. He is a significant and widely recognized American artist, but with these portraits, he seems to have been overwhelmed by the subject. He does much better with regular mortals, as seen below.

   "Orca Bates"

All work shown by Jamie Wyeth.

--- Luis

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