For fifteen years from 1971 to 1985, Andrew Wyeth secretly created 240 works based on one beautiful female model named Helga Testorf. A married, 38-year-old German working as a nurse in the home of his good friends, the Kuerners, Helga was a breath of fresh air when Karl Kuerner fell ill and Wyeth needed new inspiration. Wyeth recalled of meeting Helga, “I knew right away that I wanted this relationship—if it works—to be secret. Because I didn’t want anyone to know that I had fallen deeply in love. And that I was overcome with a powerful and emotional need to put down the excitement I felt.” (Adelson Gallery, Andrew Wyeth: Helga on Paper, New York, 2006, p. 18)
This work will be included in Betsy James Wyeth's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.