Wyeth was a visual artist, primarily classified as a realist painter, like Winslow Homer or Eakins. In a Life Magazine article in 1965, Wyeth said that although he was thought of as a realist, he thought of himself as an abstractionist: “My people, my objects breathe in a different way: there’s another core—an excitement that’s definitely abstract. My God, when you really begin to peer into something, a simple object, and realize the profound meaning of that thing—if you have an emotion about it, there’s no end.”
Christina’s World (1948):
It was at the Olson farm in Cushing, Mainethat he painted Christina’s World (1948). Perhaps his most famous image, it depicts his neighbor, Christina Olson, sprawled on a dry field facing her house in the distance. Wyeth was inspired by Christina, who, crippled from an undiagnosed chronic condition and unable to walk, spent most of her time at home.
The Olson house has been preserved, renovated to match its appearance in Christina’s World. It is open to the public as a part of the Farnsworth Art Museum.
Wyeth created nearly 300 drawings, watercolor and tempera paintings at Olson’s from 1937 to the late 1960s. Because of Wyeth’s popularity, the property was designated a National Historic Landmark in June 2011.
A short distance from the house near the water is the Hathorn family cemetery which includes the burial place of Christina Olson, her brother Alvaro, the Olson family and Andrew Wyeth. In a 2007 interview, Wyeth’s granddaughter, Victoria, revealed he wanted to be buried near Christina and the spot where he painted Christina’s World.