This is one of two early self-portraits by Wyeth executed in egg tempera. The medium enabled the artist to successfully achieve the clarity and command of detail that he was seeking. In 1944 he created two watercolor studies for the National Academy painting, which he completed early the following year. It is one of several works dating from this time that center on a lone individual walking through a field. Other paintings of the period feature a similarly muted palette and strong contrasts of light and dark. The young artist carries what is probably a portfolio under his arm, and looks off into the distance with an intense and troubled looking expression. The tall stalks of wheat and grass, and the background hillside, appear on the verge of engulfing him in darkness and shadow. Just to the left of center black hawks hover ominously in the gray and stormy sky.


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