In addition to landscape and still life, portraiture was among Wyeth’s favorite forms. He painted his neighbors religiously in the spirit of the “American Scene” artists. His love of sight and seeing was formidable and women were among his favorite subjects. Three of note were Christina Olsen, Siri Erickson and Helga Testorf. “Christina’s World” is in many ways his seminal work. It is included in the MoMA collection in New York and reproduced in countless books, magazines and was my introduction piece to Mr. Wyeth. It is magnificent! The young Christina is placed alone in the distance from her home in an expansive field. She is seemingly unable to walk in what appears to be a noon that could rapidly become twilight and night. Wyeth has masterfully painted the complexity of the foreground grasses and the distant buildings in equal manner without losing a feeling of depth. This is a great feat of painterly skill and invention.
The Helga series consists of 45 paintings and 200 drawings. The works were done in secret and it is safe to say Helga was his favorite single subject and devotion. Wyeth painted Helga from many angles and points of view, many are nudes. The Helga series was scandalous, entertaining and richly vibrant. Wyeth was thrust into the limelight of the mass media and for a time the world’s most talked about artist.
The Siri paintings are probably the least publicized but none the less beautiful and intriguing. They are much fewer in number than the Helga works. They are equal to the “Helgas” in technique and are visionary pieces.
Wyeth has not been universally loved and appreciated. It is the curse of popularity to be derided by some. He has been accused of being an over glorified illustrator. His father was the great N.C. Wyeth who essentially home schooled his beloved son “Andy” after recognizing his incredible possibilities as an artist/draftsman. Wyeth was a child prodigy; one that lived up to and surpassed his youthful potential. His works are of the sort that the viewer can become lost in, transported to a place of unequaled skill, achievement and grace. He was and is the Best.
Slected From the Artist's Portfolio