After years as a photographer, behind the scenes of the Paris fashion world and documenting the lives of bullfighters, Joséphine Douet decided to give herself an artistic challenge. She immersed herself in the world of a painter she had always admired: Andrew Wyeth. Taking on a 5-week project in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the very town in which the beloved watercolorist was born, she discovered the landscapes, townspeople and architecture that inspired the painter. Douet positioned herself completely in Chadds Ford: befriending and photographing Wyeth’s former neighbors, including his muse, Helga; observing countless sunsets to achieve his iconic sense of light and space; even crawling in the mud for hours to capture a newborn calf at just the right angle. From these experiences, she birthed a collection of photography that pays homage to Wyeth while also expressing her own vision of his world.
The collection, along with several Wyeth paintings, is on view at Hudson River Museum’s Wyeth Wonderland: Joséphine Douet Envisions Andrew Wyeth’s World through May 14. Douet doesn’t simply copy Wyeth’s work; a focus on detail reflects a sense of connection with his environment and gives a new perspective to his work. Douet’s subtle palette of browns and blacks, infused with bits of color, and a striking sense of lighting, is indicative of the moments that inspired him. The Museum will present several related programs throughout the run of the exhibition, including workshops with photographer John Maggiotto that focus on various aspects of the medium (May 14); a tour with photographer Richard Halevy (April 29) and en plein air painting (April 30). For more info, visit: hrm.org.
A version of this article first appeared in the April 2017 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.
Photo caption: Detail from Girl From Maine by Joséphine Douet