Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wyeth, Andrew

Braids (Helga Testorf)
dry-brush watercolor
982 × 800 mm
location: unknown

In 1986, Andrew Wyeth revealed his Helga collection; 245 works of a German born woman named Helga Testorf. She was a neighbor of Wyeth's in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in the late 60s and 70s, and was taking care of an elderly woman. Wyeth asked Helga to model for him in 1971, and from then until 1985 he made 45 paintings and 200 drawings of her. He painted and drew her over and over, naked and dressed, without the knowledge of Wyeth's wife or Helga's husband, over a period of 14 years. The sessions were a secret and the paintings were stored at the home of his student, neighbor and good friend.

Andrew Newell Wyeth (1917 – 2009) was a US visual artist, primarily a realist painter, working predominantly in a regionalist style. He was one of the most famous US painters of the twentieth century and often named the "Painter of the People" as a result of his popularity with the American people. In his art, Wyeth's favorite subjects were the land and people around him, both in his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and at his summer home in Cushing, Maine.