Monday, July 16, 2012


Yes indeed, this is the Olson House located off the beaten path in Cushing, Maine. It is the location of Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World. This saltwater farm house was home to "Anna" Christina and her brother Alvaro. At 17, Betsy James introduced Andrew (her soon to be husband) to the Olson's. Betsy described the home as "looming like a weathered ship stranded on a hilltop." This three story home is one of my favorite places to visit. If you are a admirer of Artist Andrew Wyeth you must add this home to your list of places to visit while in Maine. 300 of Wyeth's paintings were done in this old home. Images of paintings are framed and found throughout the rooms giving visitors an idea of what Wyeth saw. Most of the rooms are found empty with the exception being a lone chair. In the kitchen however, the original wood stove along with Alvaro and Christina's rocking chairs are found. On the kitchen windowsill, glass shelves hold Christina's beloved red geraniums. Wyeth documented life on the farm in many of his works. "The windows are eyes or pieces of the soul almost." "Each window is part of Christina's life."

One May day Andrew saw Christina dragging herself out to pick flowers from her garden. Paralyzed from the waist down, with an unknown medical condition, life was not easy for Christina. Alvaro took on the role of main caregiver and neither he nor Christina married. Wyeth took artistic license while painitng Christina's World. He separated the barn further from the house, and omitted the tree line which formed the horizen. 30 year old Betsy was used as his model, however, the gnarled hands and arms belong to 55 year old to Christina.

The Olson House, with all it's history is amazing. To stand in a room and look through the old wavy glass windows, to visualize what Wyeth saw, can take your breath away. I recommend the one hour guided tour and photography is permitted... Gazing out an upstairs window, looking across the street, over a field, on the edge of the Atlantic ocean...

a small cemetery is found...Christina and Alvaro are buried, together in one grave...

and with a simple black headstone, Mr. Wyeth too.