Andrew Wyeth

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Andrew Wyeth was born July 12, 1917 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of five children. Andrew was a sickly child and so his mother and father made the decision to pull him out of school after he contracted whooping cough. He received schooling in all subjects including art education.

Andrew had quite a vivid memory and a fantastic imagination that led to a great fascination for art. His father recognized an obvious raw talent that had to be nurtured. While his father was teaching him the basics of traditional academic drawing Andrew began painting watercolor studies of the rocky coast and the sea in Port Clyde Maine.

Dividing his time between Pennsylvania and Maine, Wyeth has maintained a relatively consistent realist painting style for over fifty years. He has tended to gravitate to several identifiable landscape subjects and models, to which he would return repeatedly over a period of decades. He typically creates dozens of studies on a subject in pencil or loosely brushed watercolor before executing a finished painting, either in watercolor, dry buy brush or egg tempera. His works have fetched increasingly higher prices with his growing fame, and today Wyeth's major works can sell for in excess of one million dollars from private dealers and at auction.

A particularly controversial episode in Wyeth's career surrounded a body of work Wyeth painted of Helga Testorf, a model he met through the Kuerner family in Chadds Ford. Wyeth began painting Helga in 1971 and for nearly fifteen years she was one of Wyeth's most important models.

Unlike his other subjects, however, Wyeth kept the vast majority of his Helga works a secret from everyone, including his wife Betsy. He revealed the Helga pictures to Betsy in 1985, and arranged a sale of the paintings to Leonard Andrews, a private investor, the following year. Andrews arranged a publicity blitz that attracted major museums to exhibit the artwork. Enticed by the suggestion of a secret love...
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