Art: Appalled & Amazed

What is it about the somber landscapes and meticulously rendered portraits of Andrew Wyeth that makes them so phenomenally popular? The poetic magic of their realism, which not only equals but surpasses the photographic image, some feel. "It is Wyeth's feeling of loneliness that makes people respond—that feeling that exists in every human being at some time in his life," suggested one curator as Wyeth's 223-picture retrospective exhibition arrived at Manhattan's Whitney Museum last week.

Whatever the reason, loneliness is not exactly the sensation that the viewer is likely to experience at the...

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