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Andrew Wyeth: Helga Pictures

DATES June 19, 1989 through September 18, 1989
COLLECTIONS American Art
  • April 1989: Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures, the long-awaited exhibition of paintings and drawings by Andrew Wyeth depicting his neighbor, Helga Testorf, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, will open at The Brooklyn Museum June 19. The 118 works on view were drawn from the complete suite of 240 paintings and preparatory studies executed between 1971 and 1985 by the artist. The exhibition will be installed in the Museum’s Robert E. Blum Gallery, located on the first floor, and will remain on view through September 18, 1989. The Brooklyn Museum venue is the last stop on a seven-city tour of the United States before the exhibition travels to Japan.

    The exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum has been made possible by New York Newsday.

    The Helga Pictures came to public attention in 1986 when the collector Leonard E. B. Andrews purchased almost the entire group of Helga subjects directly from the artist. That news-making event focused attention on a number of issues surrounding Wyeth’s art, including his extended concentration on a specific subject.

    The Helga Pictures
    comprises at least 30 different interrelated poses of the artist’s neighbor, ranging from a single study in a few instances, through others involving a handful of sketches, to a few, like Overflow, consisting of more than a dozen works. The artist depicts Helga nude as well as clothed, posed against architectural elements such as doors and windows, asleep and awake at different seasons and times of day. All are executed in either tempera, drybrush, watercolor, or pencil.

    The exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum was coordinated by Barbara Dayer Gallati, Associate Curator Of American Painting and Sculpture at the Museum.

    A fully illustrated book published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., containing both color and black-and-white illustrations of the complete Helga suite serves as the catalogue to the exhibition (208 pages: softcover -- available at Museum only, $19.95; hardcover, $40).

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 1989, 042-43. View Original 1 . View Original 2
  • Summer 1989: The Brooklyn Museum has announced plans to organize an exhibition of Andrew Wyeth’s “The Helga Pictures” for the summer of 1989, following the conclusion of a six-city tour organized by the National Gallery of Art that does not include New York. Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures, an exhibition of 140 drawings and watercolors depicting the artist’s neighbor, Helga Testorf, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, will open at The Brooklyn Museum June 16 and be on view through September 18, 1989. Moreover, the New York presentation will also feature an as yet undetermined number of additional works to be drawn from the complete series, which numbers 240 works on paper.

    Robert T. Buck, Director of The Brooklyn Museum, in commenting on the announced plans, said: “We are pleased to be able to provide an opportunity for New York audiences to view an exhibition that is the subject of such great public interest. Andrew Wyeth’s works are in the tradition of American watercolorists, in which the Museum’s own holdings have a strong representation.”

    The complete series, executed by Wyeth between 1971 and 1985, comprises groups of about 30 different interrelated poses of Helga. She is shown standing and walking, nude as well as clothed, posed against architectural elements such as doors and windows, asleep and awake at different seasons and times of day. The works were hidden from public view by the artist until last year when they were acquired by the Pennsylvania publisher Mr. Leonard E. B. Andrews.

    The exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum will be sponsored by New York Newsday. A fully illustrated book published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. serves as the catalogue to the exhibition (clothbound, $40).

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1987, 044-45. View Original 1 . View Original 2
Andrew Wyeth: Helga Pictures