Study for The Quaker
In an austere, sun-streaked room—the artist’s studio—two antique coats, seemingly in silent conversation with one another, grace a cold hearth. The oblique view from the window reveals a prototypical Andrew Wyeth landscape, the glinting windowpanes and ominous tree branches outlining a well-worn path. In keeping with Wyeth’s strongest imagery, the work evokes a haunted past and elusive present full of longing and potential. The historical coats, which the artist identifies as Quaker and “fop” costumes, at left and right, respectively, belonged to the famous Quaker artist Howard Pyle. Wyeth inherited the coats from his father and continued to maintain them throughout his life.