CUSHING, Maine — A weather-beaten farmhouse featured in the backdrop of one of the most famous paintings from the 20th century is now a national landmark.
The Olson House in Cushing where Andrew Wyeth painted “Christina’s World” was one of 14 landmarks to receive the designation from U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Thursday.
“It’s now affirmation that it’s an American icon,” said Christopher Brownawell, executive director of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, which has owned the farmhouse for the past 20 years.
Wyeth, who lived in Pennsylvania, spent 30 summers in Maine and he used the farm as a backdrop for the 1948 painting of Christina Olson, who suffered from polio and was unable to walk, crawling through a field toward the farm.
The Olson House, which overlooks the St. George River and Muscongus Bay, is where Wyeth, who died in 2009 at age 91, developed a relationship with Christina and Alvaro Olson that spanned 30 years. Wyeth’s gravestone is near the property.
The Farnsworth Art Museum is currently displaying a collection of 50 watercolors and drawings depicting the Olsons and the farmhouse. “Christina’s World” is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.