Kenyon College

The Mail Box


Artist: Andrew Wyeth
Title of Work: The Mail Box
Year: Date unknown
Dimensions: 24″ x 30″
Material: Watercolor
Photo Line: Kennedy Museum of Art
Collection Credit: Collection Kennedy Museum of Art, Ohio University

Andrew Wyeth was a rebel working during a time of fierce individualism, evident in his favorite saying, “What you have to do is break the rules.” Although the realism of his work may seem innocuous, it was radically different from the work of his contemporaries, the Abstract Expressionists of the 1940s and
1950s. Focusing on scenes of bleak rural life, Wyeth’s images often relay a sense of desolation. In The Mail Box, Wyeth captures the isolation of a northern winter in a dreary mix of cold grays, whites and blacks. For the inhabitants of this barren landscape, the mailbox represents a connection to the greater world, feebly demarcated by the presence of the ramshackle wire fence, a reminder of the outside world. The absence of human life is a common theme throughout Wyeth’s landscapes. Even  so, the human presence is evident in the recently traveled road. All this combines to present the viewer with a foreboding and lonely image of rural life.

–Sophia Yablon ‘12 Gund Gallery Associate