Artist Yvonne Jacquette stretches the canvas of her painting, "Autumn Expanse," before hanging it in Bangor's federal building in July 1981. Credit: File photo by Mickey Blanchette / BDN

Yvonne Jacquette, an acclaimed landscape artist who spent much of her career in Maine, died on April 23 at her home in New York at 88 years old, according to an obituary published in the New York Times.

Jacquette, who spent summers at her home in Waldo County for many decades, was best known for her landscapes of both urban and rural expanses, painted from an aerial perspective, usually by drawing from the seat of a small plane or from the top floors of skyscrapers.

In Maine, one of her most famous works is a mural in the lobby of the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor. “Autumn Expanse,” commissioned in 1979 and installed in 1981, is a three-panel depiction of fall foliage in Waldo County, as seen from three different aerial perspectives. Jacquette painted in a bold, pointillistic style, whether it was of verdant forests in Maine or glittering buildings in Manhattan.  

Yvonne Jacquette painted and installed this mural in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor more than 40 years ago. Jacquette died in New York on April 23 at age 88. Credit: Emily Burnham / BDN

“I flew from Belfast at noon every day in mid-September for five days to get the same light,” she told the Bangor Daily News in 1981. Jacquette said the pilot circled the same area for an hour each time, while she drew with pastels to capture the colors and feel of the area.

Jacquette was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1934 and grew up in Connecticut. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design before moving to New York City in 1955, marrying filmmaker Rudy Burckhardt in 1964.

She told an arts magazine in 2008 that she first got the idea for painting from an aerial perspective in the 1960s, after doing paintings of her tin ceiling in her New York apartment. It occurred to her that she could try painting from the opposite perspective.

In 1969, she began painting from sketches drawn while flying, first going up in small planes with pilots from a flight school near her summer home in Searsmont, which she and her husband bought in 1965. She then began doing aerial landscapes from skyscrapers and other tall buildings in Manhattan, renting high floor hotel rooms in which to paint.

Jacquette showed her work throughout the country, and regularly exhibited in Maine, including at the University of Maine Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, the Colby College Museum of Art, the University of Maine at Augusta and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, formerly in Rockport and now in Rockland.

Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. In 2003, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

She is predeceased by her husband and is survived by her son, Tom; stepson, Jacob Burckhardt; three sisters; two brothers; and three grandchildren.

Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated the first name of Jacquette Burckhardt’s husband Rudy.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.