This is one of my favorite paintings. I think it's enchanting for a lot of people. It's called "Christina's World" and Andrew Wyeth is the artist. Wyeth painted this work in 1948 and it's important to note that his father died just three years earlier. Wyeth's work began to change after the death of his father. His palette became more muted, his scenes more barren, and his figures more melancholy. I love that artists can use their art as an outward expression of their inner grief. Art is a form of communication, a language, and it's important to listen in order to savor the meaning.
The girl in the scene is Anna Christina Olson, a summer neighbor of Wyeth's and a resident of Cushing, Maine. Christina had a muscular disorder that left her unable to walk and thus crawled to keep mobility. Her disposition inspired Wyeth and she became a subject in this work. Wyeth used Christina as the model for the limbs and the pink dress of the figure, but used his wife Betsy as the model for the head and torso. The other subject in the painting is the Olson farmhouse. You can actually visit this farmhouse, it's on the National Register of Historic Places.
I love this painting for several reasons. I love farmhouses and the wide open space. It echoes a sense of isolation that I so often identify with in my own life. I love the pink color of her dress against the muted palette of the landscape. The nuances of the light and shadow on Christina are delicate and rich. What amazes me is the amount of detail Wyeth captured in the work, especially in the blades of grass and strands of hair. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when he painted each one. The entire scene is poetic mystery and a sense of magic realism. Who is she, what is she doing, does she need help, can I help her, how will she return home, does she want to return home? This work was sold for $1,800 to a director at MoMA, where you can see it today! It's one work that I would have purchased as well! I think It would look great in my future modern farmhouse!