This year, the painter Andrew Wyeth would have turned 100. To celebrate, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, is staging a series of five exhibitions exploring his work and its influence, among them a show of photographs that focus on the house that appears in some of Wyeth’s best known works, a place that had a profound impact on the artist and has for years attracted the attention of photographers who count him as an influence. “The Olson House: Photographers’ Muse” opens April 15 at the museum’s Wyeth Center. Its focus is the colonial farmhouse in Cushing, Maine that can be seen in paintings such as Christina’s World, which depicts the house’s occupant, Christina Olson, and many other paintings and drawings Wyeth made there. The artist had a studio in the house for a time, and is buried in the Olson family cemetery on the property.
The house’s simple lines and austere setting have attracted photographers including Paul Caponigro, George Tice and Linda Connor. Like Wyeth, they delight in the weathered textures of its surfaces and the sunlight that reaches its small rooms, making images that pay homage or take flight from Wyeth’s own studies. Wyeth once said about the house, “I just couldn’t stay away from there…It was Maine.” He wasn’t alone in the feeling.