Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures. Andrew Wyeth, John Wilmerding.
Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures

Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures.

New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, [1987].

First edition. Illustrated. 4to. Orange cloth in dust jacket. Fine. Item #244149

INSCRIBED to Lincoln Kirstein in the artist's hand, "For Lincoln / with love / Andy & Betsy."

An outstanding association copy. Kirstein, who was on the board of MoMA, met Andrew Wyeth after the museum acquired CHRISTINA'S WORLD in 1948. Wyeth was still largely unknown at that time, and he quickly came to rely on Kirstein for support and honest criticism of his work. "Kirstein appointed himself Wyeth's friend, admirer, mentor, and stern critic - in essence a supersuccessor to NC. [...] Wyeth thinks that in the 1950s he needed Kirstein to push him toward more form in his work, more solidity" (Meryman, Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life (1998) p 239, 243). Kirstein, who disdained most abstract art, was essential in providing Wyeth the confidence he needed to continue work in the face of hostile critics who derided his art as sentimental and unsophisticated. Wyeth was fond of quoting Kirstein's dismissive opinion of the critics, "Why do you want approval from those horses' asses?" (ibid, p. 390).
Kirstein was a father-figure to two generations of Wyeth artists, and as Andrew's son Jamie developed his own artistic gifts, Kirstein began to transfer his attention to the younger Wyeth. "After posing for nineteen-year-old Jamie, Kirstein more or less shifted his allegiance from Andrew and became Jamie's friend and mentor. Kirstein told Betsy, 'You gave me the only son I ever had'" (ibid, p. 275). Here, Betsy signs her own name at the end of the inscription.

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