The Olson House was named a National Historic Landmark in 2011, and it is now a part of the renowned Farnsworth Museum, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Rockland, Maine for Wyeth enthusiasts and art aficionados. The windows in the pictures of the home are almost like eyes, or fragments of the soul. They watch over the house with love and care, just as if they were living people.
The Farnsworth Museum is located at 110 Federal Street in Rockland, Maine. It is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except on Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Admission is free. Special events take place throughout the year at the museum including film screenings, lectures, and workshops. For more information about exhibitions and events at the Farnsworth, visit their website at www.farnsworthmuseum.org.
The Olson House is an excellent example of the work of Andrew Jackson Woodson, known as A.J. Wyeth, who was a famous American artist during the late 19th century. He is best known for his paintings of New England coastal towns and villages. The Wyeths were a wealthy family who owned a large tract of land that included five coast-side towns in Maine and three in New Hampshire. They used their money to purchase artwork by other artists, which then became assets to be displayed by them in their homes. So, in a way, the Olson House is both a museum and a private residence.
From 1939 through 1968, Wyeth featured the house and its residents, Christina and Alvaro Olson, in a number of paintings and drawings. In June 2011, the home was named a National Historic Landmark. The home is owned by the Farnsworth Art Museum and is available to the public.
Olson House Tours offer an opportunity to see inside the home where many of these paintings were created. The tours include visits to all nine rooms on the first floor as well as the rooftop studio where some of Wyeth's most famous works were painted.
Christina Olson was Wyeth's first major American client. She and her husband Alvaro bought the house in 1939, just before World War II began. They had two children who were born in the house: John and Helen. When Christina died in 1969 at the age of 57, she had become one of America's best-known women artists. Her work is displayed in many museums across the country.
Wyeth traveled to Maine several times to paint scenes from both families' lives. He also went back to paint more of Christina Olson's artwork later in his career. Some people think that he copied parts of her paintings during this time but this is not true; instead, he used what he saw in life to create new images.
In addition to painting portraits, Wyeth also drew cartoons for The New Yorker magazine.
Wood was inspired and hastily sketched the house before returning to Cedar Rapids to create American Gothic. The mansion still remains today, and thousands of people visit it each year. It is located at 809 13th Street SW in Cedar Rapids.
The home features a distinctive gabled roof with crossbeams and deep overhangs. Large black shutters line the outside of the house, giving it a sinister appearance. Inside, the house is decorated with dark wood furniture and there are several paintings by Grant that show his interest in Gothic architecture and art.
American Gothic became so popular that other artists began creating their own versions of the piece. These include William Tunstall Jr.'s 1872 painting titled The Last Home Before Bedtime, which is in the collection of the New York Public Library.
Grant's popularity increased after his death when his estate sold more than 300 pieces of artwork for $1 million ($10 million in 2017 dollars). The money was used to establish the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Even though the American Gothic house no longer stands, it has become an icon of Cedar Rapids and Iowa. In addition to being one of the most photographed buildings in the state, it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.