The wind from the sea

Andrew Wyeth • Painting, 1947, 47×70 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape, Interior
Style of art: Magical realism
Technique: Tempera
Materials: Cardboard
Date of creation: 1947
Size: 47×70 cm
Artwork in selections: 76 selections

Description of the artwork «The wind from the sea»

Andrew Wyeth found poetry in everyday things that other people would never even think of to look for: worn-out boots, dead weeds of last year, door and window openings. Especially the latter: over the course of his entire life, the artist created three hundred works depicting various windows (1, 2, 3). But these pictures are not so much and not only about them.

Wyeth called the painting "Wind from the Sea" a symbolic portrait of Christina - the same one from the famous painting about a woman lying in the middle of a field in front of lonely houses. He compared the rigid window frame with her tenacity, the shabby curtains with the disabilities of her body, and the fishnet birds fluttering in the wind with her fragile femininity.

The 22-year-old artist met Christina Olson and her brother Alvaro in July 1939, and on that day he completed the first watercolor drawing of their dilapidated farmhouse at Bird Point, Cape Maine. Wyeth came there in the summer with the family of his future wife, Betsy. She was friends with Christina, partially paralyzed from the effects of polio, and introduced her to the artist.

At first, Wyeth was more impressed by the Olson house. Built on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, it once served as a beacon for ships returning to the harbor. The house was badly dilapidated, the Olsens mainly used only the first floor, but the building itself, like its inhabitants, repeatedly appeared on the paintings of the American realist over the next three decades (1, 2, 3). Over time, Christina allowed Wyeth to use one of the rooms as a studio.

On a sultry August afternoon in 1947, Wyeth set out to paint a watercolor sketch of a dormer window on the top floor of the Olson home. “It was hot there, I opened the window, and suddenly the wind blew up the curtain, which did not move for probably thirty years, - the artist recalled. - God, it was fantastic! A thin net of tulle flew up from the dusty floor so swiftly, as if it were not the wind, but a ghost, a spirit who had been given an exit. Then I waited for a month and a half for the west wind, but, fortunately, this magical swing lived in my memory, from which - coldness on my back ”.

Wyeth strove to ensure that his paintings left a sense of understatement and believed that in the case of the painting "Christina's World" it was worth doing without Christina herself - "there is too much plot." It seems that in the case of "Wind from the Sea" he managed to maintain the necessary balance between drama and intrigue. In its atmosphere, you can feel the deceptive bliss of a cool breeze, and an ominous tension, which is supported by cracks in the wall and the torn edges of a once lovely curtain, as well as gloomy trees on the horizon.

Alvaro Olson died on Christmas Eve 1967, Christina died shortly thereafter, in January 1968. Over the years, when Wyeth visited the Olsons' home, he created hundreds of watercolors and tempera paintings with views of Christina and Alvaro's home. However, the artist considered the image of a dormer window with fluttering curtains to be the most successful: “Of all my work related to OlsonIt’s this one, it seems to me, that expresses a lot, but not too much. ”

The author: Natalia Azarenko