On Tuesday, March 24, 2009, the Honorable Wilfred P. Moore, Q.C., LL. D., Senator from Nova Scotia, made a statement, to begin the sitting of the Canadian Senate, in tribute to Andrew Wyeth. His statement, which can be read in its entirety here, included the following passage about the Farnsworth Art Museum:
“Andrew Wyeth had a relationship with the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine that began in 1944. This jewel of the coast of Maine has standing exhibitions of paintings by Mr. Wyeth and his family, and the museum has mounted an exhibition in tribute to him, which is set to open on May 22. If any honorable senators are in the area, I urge them to view that exhibit; it will give your heart a lift.”
The entire statement reads:
Honourable senators. I rise today to speak about a celebrated American artist, the late Andrew Wyeth, who departed this life on January 16, 2009, at 91 years of age at his home in the village of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He was the fifth child of Carolyn and Newell Convers Wyeth, the illustrator famously known for his work in the books Treasure Island, Robin Hood, The Last of the Mohicans, and Robinson Crusoe.
Andrew Wyeth also had a home in the small village of Cushing, Maine, and divided his time between there and Chadds Ford. In both places, he painted his family, friends and neigbours and the rural life that surrounded him, whether the farm settings of Pennsylvania or the maritime settings of Maine.
Andrew Wyeth first exhibited his watercolours in 1936. The following year, he sold out a one-man show in New York. He subsequently began working in egg tempera, and in 1948, he sold his painting Christina’s World to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for $1,800. That painting has become an American icon, like Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Whistler’s portrait of his mother, and it assured Mr. Wyeth’s fame as one of the great artists of the United States of America.
Mr. Wyeth was one of the most popular artists in the history of American art. At the same time, he was targeted by critics. His realist renderings of rugged rural life sparked endless debate about the nature of modern art. Regardless of his critics, Mr. Wyeth painted where he lived. He painted the things that held meaning for him.
In the words of a longtime friend and noted photographer, Peter Ralston, Andrew Wyeth “… was incredibly generous, intensely private. He didn’t want the world bothering him. Yet nobody loved a good time more than Andy. He could tell stories with the best of them. He was a great, elegant, powerful combination of contrasts.”
Andrew Wyeth had a relationship with the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine that began in 1944. This jewel of the coast of Maine has standing exhibitions of paintings by Mr. Wyeth and his family, and the museum has mounted an exhibition in tribute to him, which is set to open on May 22. If any honorable senators are in the area, I urge them to view that exhibit; it will give your heart a lift.
Mr. Wyeth’s earthly remains are buried in a modest seaside cemetery on Hawthorne Point in Cushing and next to Christina Olson, the physically challenged lady who was the subject of his iconic painting Christina’s World.
We express our deepest sympathy to his wife, Betsy, his sons, Nicolas, and Jamie, who is a renowned painter, and his extended family in Chadds Ford and Cushing.