Alexander Helwig Wyant
Alexander Helwig Wyant
Alexander Helwig Wyant (1836-1892) was one of the outstanding American landscape painters of the late 19th century. His fascination with luminous atmospheric effects led to the creation of a subtle and poetic style.
Alexander Wyant was born on Jan. 11, 1836, in Port Washington, Ohio. The family soon moved to Defiance, where Wyant briefly attended the local grammar school and was later apprenticed to a harness maker. His childhood aptitude for drawing was not encouraged, but after a chance encounter in 1857 with some paintings by the landscapist George Inness, Wyant decided to seek the older artist's guidance. Essentially self-taught, Wyant was able to obtain some encouragement from Inness and small financial assistance from Nicholas Longworth, the Cincinnati patron of innumerable American artists of the period. By 1864 Wyant was listed among the contributors to the National Academy of Design exhibitions.
In 1865 Wyant visited Europe and studied briefly with Hans Gude at Karlsruhe, but the prevailing German taste for highly finished storytelling pictures with a rather dark tonality evidently did not attract him. Visiting England and Ireland on the way home, Wyant no doubt saw and learned from the paintings of John Constable and the English landscape school, but an intense and individual naturalism is the dominant quality of Wyant's early work. An outstanding example of this phase of his development is Mohawk Valley (1866). He became a full member of the National Academy in 1869.
Interested in America's newly opened western lands, Wyant took a sabbatical from his prospering career and joined a government expedition to Arizona and New Mexico in 1873. En route there, he was subject to exposure and unusual hardships, which evidently brought on the illnesses plaguing him for the rest of his life. His right side was paralyzed, which necessitated that he learn to paint with his left hand. Most remarkably, after 1873 Wyant's style became more intimate and less concerned with aerial perspective and panoramic views. The naturalistic, even photographic effects of the early work gave way to simplified brushwork, a use of broken color, and bolder designs. The later "impressionistic" studies of autumn effects, views in the Adirondacks or along the Ohio River, and the pictures such as Driving Mists and Moonlight and Frost brought him honors at home and abroad.
Wyant married Arabella Locke in 1880, and they had one son. His later years were uneventful and solitary. Physical infirmities restricted his activities, although he continued to paint each summer in the Catskill Mountains and in his New York studio in winter. He died on Nov. 29, 1892.
The two books of Eliot Clark, Alexander Wyant (1916) and Sixty Paintings by Alexander H. Wyant (1920), are the pioneering studies of the artist. No recent objective appraisal of Wyant's art has been made, except for the brief attention given him in Edgar P. Richardson, Painting in America (1956). □
"Alexander Helwig Wyant." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/alexander-helwig-wyant
"Alexander Helwig Wyant." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved February 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/alexander-helwig-wyant
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
Wyant, Alexander Helwig
Alexander Helwig Wyant (wī´ənt), 1836–92, American landscape painter, b. Tuscarawas co., Ohio, studied in Cincinnati and in Germany. He was influenced by Inness, who became his friend. Wyant achieved distinction for his subtle, delicate treatment of scenes in the Adirondacks and Catskills and of peaceful rural landscapes. He is best represented in the Metropolitan Museum, which has several paintings.
"Wyant, Alexander Helwig." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wyant-alexander-helwig
"Wyant, Alexander Helwig." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wyant-alexander-helwig