In 1987, the National Gallery of Art in Washington held an exhibition titled “Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures,” where over 140 works by Wyeth between 1970 and 1985 were showcased. The Helga series, which was the focal point of the exhibition, features images of a model named Helga, whom Wyeth painted over a period of 15 years. The paintings document Helga’s physical and emotional evolution over the years, offering insight into her life and the artist’s perception.
Andrew Wyeth was a watercolorist and tempera painter noted primarily for his realistic depictions of the buildings, fields, hills, and people of his private world. His iconic paintings, such as Wind from the Sea, capture the essence of the land and people around him. Snow Hill, one of his final tempera paintings, was painted in 1987 when he was 70 years old. In it, he continued his exploration of domestic realism in the Pennsylvania countryside.
The 1987 exhibition gave visitors a glimpse into Wyeth’s world and his artistic evolution over time. While his focus remained on realist subjects, the Helga series showcased his ability to capture the nuances of human emotion and the passage of time. The exhibition’s success led to it being showcased in other museums, making it a notable milestone in the artist’s career.