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Foto Friday: Paintings and National Historic Landmarks

September 17, 2010

Free Target night. Thank you, Target.

I went to New York City not long ago.  I visited lots of museums, including MoMA.

It was packed with people.  It was hard to see the paintings.

See the guy thinking "I know this painting. What painting is this?" He's trying to read the info card on the left to find out the story.

Sometimes you can have a historic preservation moment even in the middle of a museum of modern art.

The painting (since you can't read the card from here) is "Christina's World" painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1949

That house in the distance that we’re all staring at (including Christina there in the painting) is the Olson House.  Wyeth frequently drew and painted the house and its residents between 1939 – 1968.

Today the house is owned by the Farnsworth Art Museum and welcomes visitors who want to know more about its interesting history.

The house was once described as "looming up like a weathered ship stranded on a hilltop." Originally built in the late 18th century, the house was significantly altered in 1871.

Already listed on the National Register, in November the house will be considered for National Historic Landmark status.  (That is the highest landmark designation that exists.  NHLs “bring the American Experience to life” and are recognized for their “exceptional value or quality in illustrating and interpreting the heritage of the United States.”)

UPDATE On June 30, 2011, Department of the Interior Secretary Salazar announced designation of 14 National Historic Landmarks, including the Olson House.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2010 10:23 am

    Great post! I think it’s amazing that the Olson House is up for status as a historic landmark largely because of its appeal to an artist and, through him, its familiarity to an enormous number of people. Is Wyeth’s own house as well known as a landmark?

    • Sabra Smith permalink*
      September 17, 2010 11:24 am

      Well, it’s a big year for Wyeth NHL consideration. The Kuerner Farm is also up for designation consideration. It has a long history with the Wyeth family and their artistic legacies.

      Since 1999 the farm has been owned by the Brandywine River Museum in Chadd’s Ford. The museum has offered tours since 2004 that include reproductions of the art Wyeth created based on his almost seventy year fascination with the site. His earliest drawing from the farm was done when he was 15. He met Helga Testorf at the Kuerner Farm, inspiring a whole series of paintings with her as the subject. The farm also inspired work such as Winter 1946 (1946), Groundhog Day (1959), Evening at Kuerners (1970), Young Bull (1960), Spring Fed (1967), and Overflow (1978).

  2. Gregg Clemmer permalink
    October 5, 2010 9:41 pm

    A superb post…reminding me of my own memorable visit to Chadd’s Ford several years ago.
    Thanks, (smile) for the memories!

    • Sabra Smith permalink*
      October 6, 2010 2:18 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Gregg!

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