Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

US artist Andrew Wyeth dies at 91

Andrew Wyeth and President Bush
Andrew Wyeth was honoured by President Bush in 2007

Artist Andrew Wyeth, who captured the melancholy of the landscapes and people of Pennsylvania in his work, has died peacefully in his sleep aged 91.

The popular realist painter captured images near his home in the state and his summer residence in Maine.

His Helga paintings - full figure nude portraits of his neighbour - won him a wave of interest in 1986.

Wyeth many awards included becoming the first living US artist to be elected to the Royal Academy.

'Timelessness'

In 2007, he received the National Medal of Arts from President George W Bush and became the first artist to be granted the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"The world has lost one of the greatest artists of all time," said George A Weymouth of the Brandywine Conservancy, named after the Pennsylvania valley where Wyeth lived and worked.

Trodden Weed by Andrew Wyeth
Andrew Wyeth's painting Trodden Weed at the Philadelphia Art Museum

"I think one's art goes only as far and as deep as your love goes," he said in an interview.

"I don't paint these hills around Chadds Ford because they're better than the hills somewhere else. It's that I was born here, lived here - things have a meaning for me," Wyeth added of his home town.

"I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future - the timelessness of the rocks and the hills - all the people who have existed there," he said.

The artist's work will continue to be seen at the Brandywine River Museum in his home town, which also includes artworks by his father.

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