Wyeth grandchild to speak in Lewiston

Posted Sept. 23, 2011, at 5:12 a.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — The public will have a chance to learn about Wyeth art from a Wyeth on Saturday and Sunday.

Victoria Browning Wyeth is the only grandchild of Andrew Wyeth, whose painting “Christina’s World” depicts a handicapped Maine woman and a Maine landscape. It is one of the most well-known American paintings.

Victoria Wyeth, who graduated from Bates College in 2001, will give a series of free talks to Lewiston-Auburn students and the community at Bates College.

At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, she’ll give a lecture at Bates College’s Olin Arts Center that will be open to the public. Throughout the day Sunday, Wyeth will give four less-formal “gallery talks” at the Bates College Museum of Art, 75 Russell St. Those talks are scheduled for 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Victoria Wyeth lives in Pennsylvania and works as a research assistant for a clinical psychiatrist. She has worked as a therapist at a Pennsylvania state psychiatric hospital.

But art runs deep in her family. She was close to her grandfather in his later years. Her great-grandfather N.C. Wyeth was one of America’s greatest illustrators in the early 1900s. Her uncle is contemporary American realist painter Jamie Wyeth, who has painted the Kennedy family and Jimmy Carter, along with Maine scenes. Victoria’s father is an art dealer, her mother an art adviser.

Victoria has been giving public talks about Wyeth art since she was 16. While a high school sophomore, she lectured at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockport near her family’s Maine island home.

While a senior at Bates College, she organized a Wyeth exhibition at the Bates College Museum of Art, curator Anthony Shostak said.

“It was a fascinating show,” Shostak said. “She must have done hundreds of tours. She’s really passionate about the work.”

Her talks are unique, Shostak said, because Wyeth can talk about her grandfather’s techniques and retell stories and sayings she heard from him. She knows how he came to creating paintings such as “Master Bedroom,”which shows a dog on a bed.

“He came in and saw the dog on the bed and began cussing that the dog thinks it owns the place,” Shostak said. That’s the kind of “anecdote that only Victoria has.”

She remembers that he was goofy at times and that he loved practical jokes and Halloween. Her talks capture bits of Andrew Wyeth’s world that are interesting and lend understanding to his work, Shostak said.

Wyeth will give private lectures to middle school students from Auburn and Lewiston, high school students from Edward Little and Leavitt Area high schools, students from St. Dominic Academy, residents of Schooner Estates and friends of the Lewiston and Auburn public libraries.

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