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The Cloisters

A work made of tempera on board.
© 2018 Andrew Wyeth / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

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  • A work made of tempera on board.




Andrew Wyeth
American, 1917–2009

About this artwork

Andrew Wyeth often sought to capture his emotional response to an intriguing place by honing, refining, and crystallizing his initial impressions into hushed, haunting final compositions. The Cloisters depicts a small, empty room at the Ephrata Cloister, located near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, about 50 miles from Wyeth’s home in Chadds Ford. It was the seat of the German Seventh-day Baptists, an early American religious colony that had disbanded in 1934 and was being restored as a historic landmark when Wyeth visited with his aunt Elizabeth in 1949. Wyeth’s early studies portrayed Elizabeth in the room, but he eliminated her figure and increasingly abstracted the space to focus on the play of light against the muted brown walls. The bird, a chalk sculpture of the type produced by residents of the Ephrata Cloister, stands as a slightly surreal evocation of the history of the colony and Elizabeth’s one-time presence in the scene.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Andrew Wyeth


The Cloisters


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Tempera on board


Signed recto, lower left, in dark brown pigment: Andrew Wyeth


78.7 × 104.1 cm (31 × 41 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Regenstein

Reference Number



© 2018 Andrew Wyeth / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Extended information about this artwork

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