PDN Photo of the Day

Tracing Andrew Wyeth’s Shadow

When Andrew Wyeth died in 2009 at the age of 91, he was one of the country’s best known painters, beloved (and sometimes reviled) for his stark, realist paintings set the towns in Maine and Pennsylvania where he split his time. Visiting those places can feel like stepping into his work, and his houses and studios draw visitors from all over. Wyeth’s pull reached all the way to Spain, to French-born, Madrid-based photographer Joséphine Douet, who spent a month tracing Wyeth’s life and work in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, his home town, for her series “The Secret Sits (Wyeth Wonderland).” The series is on view at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid until June 19, in connection with their show of paintings by Wyeth and his son, “Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio.”

Douet’s photographs reference Wyeth’s style, in studies of stone barns or yellow grass against dark forest. Other references are more specific – in one, a long-haired blond posed against the trunk of a tree, a nod to Wyeth’s famous “Helga” series. Another shows Helga herself, Wyeth’s secret model for 15 years, who still lives in the area, dressed in white against a whitewashed structure. “I have constructed close and profound relations with the people of Chadds Ford,” Douet says in a statement, “and also with Andrew Wyeth’s former models, sharing amazing moments with Helga, his secret muse for fifteen years.”

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Fine Art


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