Wyeth’s Cast of Characters: Helga Testorf
“The difference between me and a lot of painters is that I have to have a personal contact with my models . . . . I have to become enamored. Smitten. That’s what happened when I saw Helga.” – Andrew Wyeth
Andrew Wyeth painted Helga Testorf in secret for 13 years before the world, and his wife, saw the paintings for the first time. The secrecy and intimacy of these paintings stirred quite the scandal when they were first exhibited and they continue to be a source of much conjecture into the details surrounding Wyeth’s relationship with one of his greatest muses. Find out more about the character of Helga both within, and outside of, Wyeth’s life and paintings during a talk given by Patricia Junker, SAM’s Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art, in the Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect galleries.
“Remember, he’s a Bergman . . . He’s creating a world they [his models] don’t realize and they’re acting out a part without any script.” – Betsy Wyeth
Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect is on view at Seattle Art Museum through January 15 and the next Wyeth Wednesday tour with Patricia Junker will take place January 3.
– Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, Content Strategist & Social Media Manager