Monday, 15 June 2009

My Mom's Favorite Painting

"Christina's World" by Andrew Wyth
Painted in 1948, the work was a stroke of luck and delayed memory. One day, as Wyeth happened to look out his upstairs window, he saw his next-door neighbor — a young woman named Christina Olsen, whom he had been painting for some time — crawling across a field of wheat. Christiana had had polio as a child. Later, Wyeth made sketches of the Olsen house, added a field surrounding it, and, as an afterthought, inserted Christina in a pink dress in the foreground. Out of nowhere an American had created a one-painting version of conservative surrealism, a painting with what felt like American values, but that was riddled with mystery and something unknowable. In 1949, the Museum of Modern Art purchased the picture. Today, “Christina’s World” is a tourist destination, a picture people puzzle over and love.

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