I finally visited the Olson House, the former home of Christina Olson, Andrew Wyeth‘s model for “Christina’s World“. Wyeth was brought to the Olsons by Betsy James, who he later married. Betsy wanted to show Andrew the real Maine. And real it was.
Christina lived in the house with her brother Alvaro. She was crippled and house bound. She moved about the house on a chair that she somehow managed to thump across the floor. The odor in the house must have been horrific, as she was often left to relieve herself on a stack of newspapers slid onto the seat of her chair.
This bleak and tattered existence offers up a simple aesthetic that is stark and pure; faded peeling paper in one room, cracked plaster in another, floors rubbed down to their grain. Its easy to understand the appeal.