Tuesday, 22 May 2012
I am not really a fan of modern art, but every time Chris and I have visited New York, we try and make time to visit The Museum Of Modern Art on W53rd Street.
Years ago, one painting caught my attention and my imagination. It was Christina's World by Andrew Wyelth Now, I had no idea just how famous the painting was in America, I was simply drawn to the picture's strange story of a frail, faceless woman in a field.
The inspiration for the painting was a lady called Christina Olsen, a probable polio sufferer, who Wyelth had once seen crawling across the Olsen family farmland. The model for the painting was in fact Wyelth's wife Betsy, who introduced him to Christina in 1939 and the two families became close friends for many, many years
Interestingly Christina, her brother Alvaro and Wyelth are all buried in the same cemetery , near to the Olsen farm in Maine
When I first saw the painting, I fell into conversation with an elderly New Yorker who asked me how the painting made me feel. I told him that I thought it was in many ways a powerful piece and that it reminded me of patients I had nursed with paralysis.
This was before I knew any history of the painting, and my companion not only explained to me all about Christina Olsen but also took some time explaining that Andrew Wyelth was grieving for his father and nephew, who died in a train accident, when he painted the work.
"That's why the colours are all muted and the subject is so melancholic" I remember him explaining
I have loved this painting ever since.
To me it isn't a sad piece of work, but a hopeful one
It portrays someone who lives in a small, safe life......
A woman who looks into her world rather than gazing wistfully away from it
(We have a postcard of the painting on our fridge in the kitchen....I caught myself looking at it over morning coffee...hence the post! x)