Christina's World

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Christina's World
Christinasworld.jpg
Artist Andrew Wyeth
Year 1948[1]
Medium Egg tempera on gessoed panel[1]
Dimensions 81.9 cm × 121.3 cm (​32 14 in × ​47 34 in)[1]
Location Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Christina's World is a 1948 painting by American painter Andrew Wyeth and one of the best-known American paintings of the middle 20th century. It is a tempera work done in a realist style, depicting a woman lying on the ground in a treeless, mostly tawny field, looking up at a gray house on the horizon; a barn and various other small outbuildings are adjacent to the house.[1] It is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of its permanent collection.[1]

Background[edit]

The woman in the painting is Anna Christina Olson (3 May 1893 – 27 January 1968). She probably suffered from Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a genetic polyneuropathy.[2][3] Wyeth was inspired to create the painting when he saw her crawling across a field while he was watching from a window in the house. He had a summer home in the area and was on friendly terms with Olson, using her and her younger brother as the subjects of paintings from 1940 to 1968.[4] Olson was the inspiration and subject of the painting but she was not the primary model; Wyeth's wife Betsy posed as the torso of the painting.[4] Olson was 55 at the time that Wyeth created the work.[4]

The house depicted in the painting is known as the Olson House in Cushing, Maine and is open to the public, operated by the Farnsworth Art Museum.[5] It is a National Historic Landmark and has been restored to match its appearance in the painting,[6][7][8] although Wyeth separated the house from its barn and changed the lay of the land for the painting.

Reception and history[edit]

Christina's World was first exhibited at the Macbeth Gallery in Manhattan in 1948.[9] It received little attention from critics at the time, but Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), bought the painting for $1,800. He promoted it at MoMA and it gradually grew in popularity over the years. Today, it is considered an icon of American art and is rarely loaned out by the museum.[10]

Popular culture[edit]

The painting appears as a prop in the film Oblivion starring Tom Cruise.[11]

The life of Olson and her encounter with Wyeth is portrayed in the novel A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Christina's World in the MoMA Online Collection
  2. ^ Surugue, Léa (6 May 2016). "Christina's World: Mystery illness of Andrew Wyeth's most famous painting discovered". International Business Times. Retrieved 6 May 2016. 
  3. ^ The 23rd Historical Clinicopathological Conference, University of Maryland School of Medicine, May 6, 2016
  4. ^ a b c Corliss, Richard (1986-08-18). "Andrew Wyeth's Stunning Secret". Time. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  5. ^ "The Olson House". Farnsworth Museum. 
  6. ^ Museum, Farnsworth (June 2, 2016). "Olson House and Farnsworth Homestead Open for Season". www.freepressonline.com. The Free Press. Retrieved October 28, 2016. The house’s exterior woodwork was restored...  
  7. ^ Mena, Tim (January 12, 2016). "Christina's World: CUSHING, ME ~ Mid-18th Century". www.longleaflumber.com. Long Leaf Lumber. Retrieved October 28, 2016. multimillion-dollar renovation projects ... extensive renovations at the Olson House 
  8. ^ Ernest, Dagney C. (May 20, 2016). "Olson House lecture details year-long effort". knox.villagesoup.com. Village Soup. Retrieved October 28, 2016. the restoration of the house’s exterior woodwork ... 
  9. ^ Kimmelman, Michael (January 16, 2009). "Andrew Wyeth, Painter, Dies at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  10. ^ Esaak, Shelley. "Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth". About.com. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Oblivion Trivia. IMDb.
  12. ^ Aikman, Becky (Feb 24, 2017). "Mystery Woman: A Novel Explores the Story of Andrew Wyeth's 'Christina's World'". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2018.  More than one of |website= and |work= specified (help)

External links[edit]