‘Wyeth’ at The Waldo Aug. 10
“ I’m just appalled and amazed at the way in which people are interested in my paintings. I think it’s because I happen to paint things that reflect the basic truths of life: sky, earth, friends, the intimate things. People are drawn to my work by common feelings that go beyond art.” - Andrew Wyeth, quoted in Time magazine, February 24, 1967.
The Waldo Theatre, at 916 Main St. in Waldoboro, presents the third and final film in its 2023 Summer Maine Artist Film Series on Thursday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. with the film “Wyeth” and filmmaker Glenn Holsten.
“Wyeth” tells the story of one of America’s most popular, but least understood, artists — Andrew Wyeth. Son of the famous illustrator N.C. Wyeth, Andrew had his first exhibition at age 20, and his painting “Christina’s World” was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 1948. While Wyeth’s exhibitions routinely broke attendance records, art world critics continually assaulted his work. Detailing the stunning drawings and powerful portraits he created in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and Cushing, Maine, “Wyeth” explores his inspirations, including neighbor Christina Olsen and his hidden muse, the German model Helga Testorf, who he painted secretly for 15 years. Through unprecedented access to Wyeth’s family members, including sons Jamie and Nicholas Wyeth, and never-before-seen archival materials from the family’s personal collection and hundreds of Wyeth’s studies, drawings and paintings, “Wyeth” is the most complete portrait of the artist yet — bearing witness to a legacy just at the moment it is evolving.
“Like many, I grew up knowing only of ‘Christina’s World’ — the haunting painting of a young woman crawling up a hill towards a house. I purchased a postcard of the painting when I visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as a teenager and carried it with me for years — it even hung on my bulletin board in my college dorm room for a while. I know I am not alone when I say that something about the painting spoke to me that was quite visceral, but difficult to articulate” says Director Glenn Holsten.
In the mid-1990s, Glenn was contacted by painter Bo Bartlett to help him create a documentary film about Andrew Wyeth. The film, titled “Snow Hill” (after one of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings), was commissioned by the artist’s wife, Betsy Wyeth. Betsy Wyeth was the force behind much of the storytelling about Andrew Wyeth that was created during his lifetime.
Glenn adds, “Working on ‘Snow Hill’ was my first introduction to Wyeth’s world. I journeyed with Bo to Chadds Ford many times. I met Andrew Wyeth (briefly) and went to meetings with Betsy Wyeth in the one-room schoolhouse that she had transformed into her office. At night, I sifted through his father N.C. Wyeth’s letters, and helped Bo shape a script for the film. It was all very thrilling.”
“Snow Hill” does a beautiful job of seeing Wyeth’s world through Andrew Wyeth’s eyes. However, with the exception of Snow Hill, which was made while Andrew Wyeth was alive, there has not yet been a film that took stock of the totality of his life. “Wyeth” is the first documentary that explores the full scope of Andrew Wyeth’s life and artistic method. In post-production, producer Chayne Gregg and Director Glenn worked closely with editor Vic Carreno and composer Michael Aharon to shape a story that was revealed layer by layer, much in the way Andrew Wyeth created his exquisite master paintings – meticulous study followed by layer upon layer of tempera.
Glenn says, “I made this film in hopes that audiences would discover the depth and richness in an artist that they thought they knew, but perhaps never really took the time to understand.”
In addition to the full length documentary, audience members will get a first look (world premiere) at Holsten’s upcoming film about Jamie Wyeth. Attendees are encouraged to come early to enjoy the August exhibition in the gallery. Director Glenn Holsten will be in attendance for a post screening Q&A. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7.
For tickets: adults - $10 in advance, $15 at the door, visit www.thewaldotheatre.org/film. Youth film tickets always $5. Concessions will be available.