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Betsy's World

Betsy's World

"Directed by Sam Brosnan, and produced by the Farnsworth Art Museum, “Betsy’s World” shines a new light on Andrew Wyeth’s greatest works, which owe their very existence to Betsy’s vision. Shot in the rooms, fields, and private islands that have served as subject, muse, and home to the Wyeths, and featuring rare interviews with both Wyeth sons, Jamie and Nicky, this documentary short will show you that art is bigger than the person holding the paintbrush." from the video introduction

Betsy Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth’s Widow and Collaborator, Dies at 98

"She was just 17 when she met her future husband. She went on to guide his career and became an avid preservationist of vernacular architecture.

Betsy James Wyeth, the indomitable widow, collaborator and muse of the painter Andrew Wyeth, died on April 21 at her home in Chadds Ford, Pa. She was 98.

She had been in declining health for years, her son Jamie Wyeth said in confirming the death.

The couple met in 1939 in Cushing, Maine, when she was 17 and he was 22. As the oft-told story goes, Ms. Wyeth’s father invited the handsome young painter to meet his three daughters.

He was taken with Betsy, the youngest, and she with him, and she tested her new beau by inviting him to meet the Olsons, a brother and sister who lived in a squalid but atmospheric farmhouse.

Christina Olson was paralyzed from the waist down, and it was Ms. Wyeth’s intention to see if Mr. Wyeth would be shocked by the Olsons’ grim existence. As he said afterward, he was too focused on his future wife to pay much attention.

Years later, as he observed Ms. Olson crawl across the field to her house — a proud woman, she disdained the assistance of a wheelchair — he was moved enough to paint what would become one of the most famous images in the world, “Christina’s World.” (Mr. Wyeth would return to the house, and Ms. Olson, over and over again in his work.) It was Ms. Wyeth who named the painting, as she would with many more of his.

“That was her life’s work: my father and his work and giving him the freedom to paint,” Jamie Wyeth, who is also an artist, said of his mother. “She was my father’s severest critic. Mine, too.”

He added: “She was an incredible editor and would always tell him to take things out of paintings. My father liked to say that ‘Christina’s World’ would be better without the figure in it. But I think that idea came from her. I always felt her signature should be alongside his.”..from the article: Betsy Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth’s Widow and Collaborator, Dies at 98

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