Andrew World Part 3: “Christina’s World.”
The painting “Christina’s World” became the quintessential success and glory of Andrew Wyeth, and turned into a real American “icon”, along with “American Gothic” by Wood, Whistler’s “Portrait of Mother” and “Washington Crosses Delaware” by Emmanuel Loyce. Wyeth himself considered this work a “complete failure”, sending it to the Manhattan Gallery Macbeth in 1948. The Museum of Modern Art acquired the canvas for $ 1800.
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Christine Olson, completely paralyzed below her waist, Wyeth first saw him literally dragging himself across a field in Maine – “like a crab along the shores of New England,” he later recalled. This woman became for him a model of personal dignity and pride: she refused to use the stroller and preferred to live in complete disorder, but owed nothing to anyone. This was a harsh, tough virtue, almost human-independent, and it was precisely this that attracted Wyeth throughout his career.
The picture shows Olson from the back. At that time she was 55 years old. She died twenty years later, by then having managed to become the heroine of many Wyeth paintings. Due to the popularity of the artist, the news of her death spread throughout the country. From the image in the picture, it is impossible to determine either her age or how she looks, and this mystery complements the already ambiguous atmosphere. The house, which Wyeth himself called the “bare skeleton of a building”, is a real symbol of the pastoral American dream, shown through the prism of the Great Depression: the white paint was peeling off the walls, the roof was squinting, and there was only an empty sky above its roof. “Christina’s World” is surprisingly gloomy and gloomy. But the audience, it seemed, paid much more attention not to the atmosphere of the canvas, but to how filigree Wyeth portrayed every blade of grass – the very “mechanical” realism that was not related to the author’s message.
“Often people like my paintings only because the sun is reflected off the edge of the window, and they just like to look at it,” Wyatt once said. “It reminds them of something of their own.” But for me, this picture may hide the moonlit night that I spent in some house in Maine, a terrible night, or I was again in this strange mood … Maybe it was Halloween. And all this is there, hiding behind a realistic facade.
I think that the biggest weakness of my work is their subject. There is always too much of it. ”