Friday, August 5, 2016


I was at a yard sale and a little boy had a sign posted on the garage door:

LEMONADE 25 cents

DROLINGS   25 cents

I asked him what "drolings" were and he showed me some of his artwork. I asked where he went to school and what grade he was in;  he told me he was in the third grade at Belle Aire.

I asked, "May I buy the sign?" He seemed surprised but he took it down and when he handed it to me, I crossed out DROLINGS and wrote DRAWINGS. I gave it back to him with a quarter. He asked, "Aren't you going to take it?" I told him that I had voted for all school bond issues and that was just another contribution from me for education.

His grandmother, who was having the yard sale, commented, "They don't teach them nothin' at school."

I left, very depressed about the state of education and child-rearing, but then I recalled that Andrew Wyeth had little formal schooling and he did very well.

Wyeth is on my mind today because I have a calendar which shows interesting tidbits about artists.  On August 5, 1986, it was revealed that Andrew Wyeth had secretly created 240 pictures--including many nudes--during a 15-year period, using his neighbor Helga Testorf as the model.  This caused quite a scandal in the art world.

When the book, The Helga Pictures, was published in 1987, I just had to have a copy.  I immediately took it to my brother Norman to enjoy with me.  Norman--a great Wyeth fan--had visited both Chadds Ford and Brandywine and many other museums to see original Wyeths.

Norman commented that it was a brilliant marketing strategy by the Wyeths--Andy and Betsy--to first of all, "reveal" the "secret", bask in the publicity associated with the "scandal", then bring out the book of pictures which became a best-seller.  Norman said, "Imagine a best-seller in the art world!"  Norman looked at the price-tag on the book and said, "And they got you to buy this book!"

When prints became available, I just had to have one of those too! The one pictured here hung in our bedroom for years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

May I see HELGA? ML