ANDREW WYETH (1917-2009)
ANDREW WYETH (1917-2009)
ANDREW WYETH (1917-2009)
ANDREW WYETH (1917-2009)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection
ANDREW WYETH (1917-2009)

Day Dream

ANDREW WYETH (1917-2009)
Day Dream
signed 'A. Wyeth' (lower left)
tempera on panel
19 x 27 1/4 in. (48.3 x 69.2 cm.)
Painted in 1980
The Armand Hammer collection (1981).
Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
Acquired from the above by the late owner, 2011.
"Arts Reviewed" in Connoisseur, January 1981, pp. 15-16 (illustrated).
J. Campagne, "Les 'crayons' d'Andrew Wyeth" in Nice Matin, 1 January 1981 (illustrated in color).
"Lettre d'un amatuer deboussole" in Le Figaro, 2 January 1981, p. 13 (illustrated).
P. Courcelles, "Arts Plastiques" in Revolution, 29 January 1981 (illustrated).
R. Micha, “Lettre de Paris: Andrew Wyeth” in Arts International, January-February 1981, vol. 24, nos. 5-6, pp. 232 and 234 (illustrated).
O. Findsen, "A guerilla guide to the Hammer collection" in The Cincinnati Enquirer, 16 April 1981, p. C5.
J. Walker, The Armand Hammer Collection, Los Angeles, 1985, p. 218, no. 125 (illustrated).
The Connoisseur: An Illustrated Magazine for Collectors, 1986, vol. 216, nos. 839-899, pp. 85 and 87.
S. Lingemann, "Kunstler Sehen Amerika" in Architectural Digest, May 1986, pp. 9-14 (illustrated in color).
"The Helgas: Lifting the Wyeth Veil" in The Philadelphia Enquirer, 12 August 1986 (illustrated).
"Wyeth's Secret" in Times Standard, 13 August 1986, p. 11 (illustrated).
P. Richard, “Portrait of an Obsession” in The Washington Post, 17 August 1986, p. 1 (illustrated).
B. Barol, C. McGuigan and P. McKillop, "Wyeth's Secret Cache" in Newsweek, August 1986, p. 3.
B. Barol, C. McGuigan and P. McKillop, "Andrew Wyeth's Secret Obsession" in Newsweek, August 1986, p. 51 (illustrated in color).
T. Hoving, "The Prussian - Andrew Wyeth's Secret Paintings (1972-85)" in Connoisseur, September 1986, pp. 84-87 (illustrated in color).
"Ein Bilderschatz in der alten Muhle wird zue Presseund Preissensation" in Art - Das Kunstmagazin, November 1986, pp. 88-92 (illustrated in color).
"Top Guns" in Life, January 1987, p. 37 (illustrated in color).
J. Wilmerding, Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures, Washington, D.C., 1987, pp. 7, 11, 19, 26, 30-31, 169 and 199, no. 206 (illustrated in color, p. 169, no. 206).
B. Shunju, Gakano Tsuma Tachi, Japan, 1993 (illustrated in color).
R. Meryman, Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life, New York, 1996, pp. 350-51.
A.A. Anderson and P.E. Bolin, eds., The History of Art Education: Proceedings of the Third Penn State International Symposium, State College, Pennsylvania, 1997, p. 568.
W. Vaughan, ed., Encyclopedia of Artists: Robbia-Zurbarán, Oxford, 2000, p. 93.
J.B. Jiminez, Dictionary of Artists’ Models, New York, 2001, p. 523 (illustrated).
H. Kruger, Zarte Blume Hoffnung, Cologne, 2005 (illustrated in color on the cover).
D. Kuspit, "Shameless and Unashamed" on Artnet, 6 October 2005 (illustrated in color).
G. Gehman, “The Wry World of Wyeth: Retrospective Explores Magical Realism of an American Icon” in The Morning Call, 26 March 2006.
H. Adams, "Wyeth's World" in Smithsonian Magazine, June 2006, pp. 84-92 (illustrated in color).
BBC Scotland, Michael Palin in Wyeth's World, documentary film, 2013.
D. Cateforis, Rethinking Andrew Wyeth, Berkeley, 2014 (illustrated in color).
R. Hughes, The Spectacle of Skill, New York, 2015, p. 638.
T.J. Standring, Wyeth: Andrew & Jamie in the Studio, New Haven, 2015, p. 136.
Wyeth, documentary film, 2018.
Paris, Galerie Claude Bernard, Andrew Wyeth: Temperas, Aquarelles, Drybrush, Dessins, 1980-1981, no. 29 (illustrated in color on the cover).
Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1981.
Beijing, National Art Museum, The Armand Hammer Collection of Paintings, 1982.
Maine, Portland Museum of Art, Maine Light: Temperas of Andrew Wyeth, May-September 1983.
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, American Paintings from the Armand Hammer Collection: An Inaugural Celebration, January-February 1985 (illustrated in color).
West Palm Beach, Norton Museum of Art; Palm Springs Desert Museum; Leningrad, Hermitage Museum; Moscow, U.S.S.R. State Art Gallery; Novosibirsk, Regional Picture Gallery; Odessa Fine Art Museum; Kiev State Museum of Ukranian Fine Arts; Tblisi, State Museum of Art of the Georgian S.S.R.; Louisville, J.B. Speed Art Museum and Holyoke, Heritage State Park, The Armand Hammer Collection: Five Centuries of Masterpieces, November 1985-August 1987.
New York, Hammer Galleries, Realism: A Continuing American Exhibition, November-December 1987 (illustrated in color).
Chadds Ford, Brandywine River Museum of Art and Portland Museum of Art, The Helga Pictures: Then and Now, September 1992-October 1993.
Palm Springs Desert Museum, The Armand Hammer Collection: Five Centuries of Masterpieces, January-March 1996.
Atlanta, High Museum of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Andrew Wyeth: Memory & Magic, November 2005-July 2006, pp. 22, 24, 74, 191 and 214, no. 89 (illustrated in color, p. 191, pl. 68).
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.
Further details
This work will be included in Betsy James Wyeth’s forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work.

Brought to you by

Max Carter
Max Carter Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Americas

Lot Essay

With an original blend of simplicity and intricate detail, Andrew Wyeth is best known for elevating the everyday into timeless visions of poignant beauty. In his masterful Day Dream, Wyeth updates the archetypal female nude into both an artistic study of light and atmosphere, as well as a psychologically engaging analysis of secret intimacy. Depicting the artist’s most notorious model Helga Testorf, Day Dream balances a crisp, monochromatic palette with detailed tempera brushwork to eternalize one of the most fruitful relationships of his career as a lasting image of ethereal beauty.
In the 1970s, Wyeth was at a crossroads. After completing almost four hundred works over thirty years, mostly inspired by the Kuerner family, his neighbors in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, he faced an inspirational crisis when the patriarch of the family, Karl, became ill. A new muse entered in the form of Helga Testorf, a 38-year-old German woman helping around the Kuerner home as a nurse. For the following fifteen years, from 1971 to 1985, Wyeth created 240 works featuring Helga. He later confessed, “I was entranced the instant I saw her…Amazingly blond, fit, compassionate. I was totally fascinated by her” (quoted in Andrew Wyeth: Helga on Paper, New York, 2006, p. 12). While the majority of the series was kept secret, a select few paintings of Helga, including Day Dream, were shown and sold during these years of creation. The extent of the series was only later revealed in August 1986, appearing as headline news on the covers of Time and Newsweek. From contemplative to titillating, the Helga works have captivated audiences ever since with their intense intimacy.
Wyeth completed over 35 drawings and watercolors of Helga in various poses of sleep, including three drawings and two watercolors directly related to the present work. In Day Dream he immerses Helga’s form within the bright west-facing upstairs bedroom of Eight Bells, the Wyeth family home in Port Clyde, Maine. Central to the work’s success is his signature medium of tempera. Under closer inspection, the swathes of analogous whites and tans explode with detail as the artist delights in the nuances of the diverse textures and the subtleties of his brushwork. The result is a subtle radiance that floods the composition, almost from beneath.
As seen in many of Wyeth’s best works, Day Dream notably includes windows—a signature motif prevalent throughout his career, perhaps most famously in Wind from the Sea (1947, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). In Day Dream, Wyeth uses the two open windows and the transparent canopy between Helga and the viewer to explore concepts of physical and emotional distance. As Anne Knutson writes, “Wyeth associates the liminal spaces of thresholds with psychological states of thinking, imagining, and dreaming; the paintings become magical chambers where dreams are played out.” More specifically, Day Dream “explore[s] the intersection of desire, sleep, and dreams. The window, which suggests boundaries that cannot always be crossed with impudence, intensifies the illicit potential of these paintings of sleeping nudes” (Andrew Wyeth: Memory & Magic, Atlanta, 2005, p. 75).
Wyeth himself declared, “The heart of the Helga series is that I was trying to unlock my emotions in capturing her essence, in getting her humanity down” (quoted in op. cit., 2006, p. 15). Over the years of painting Helga in intimate privacy, Wyeth gained a familiarity with his muse, yet also maintained a barrier between subject and artist as their interactions were kept secret. The results of this intense relationship are mesmerizing pictures that juxtapose elements of purity and openness with tones of concealment and distance. Day Dream epitomizes this careful balance that made the Helga series a phenomenon and further established Andrew Wyeth among the icons of twentieth-century art.

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