The Olson House
High on Hathorne Point, 14.5 miles from Rockland, is the beautiful and haunting Olson House, subject of hundreds of works of art by Andrew Wyeth. It was here at the former shipmaster’s home—once described by the artist’s wife, Betsy, as “looming up like a weathered ship stranded on a hilltop”—that he painted his most famous work, Christina’s World (now owned by the Museum of Modern Art), in 1948; the canvas depicts a young woman crawling, longingly, up a meadow hill. For nearly three decades, from 1939 to 1968, Wyeth studiously documented Christina, her brother Alvaro, and the saltwater farmhouse on Maple Juice Cove, expressively capturing their isolated Maine life in drawings, watercolors, oils, and tempera paint. Today, the storied 1700s house—run by the Farnsworth Museum and preserved much as the Olsons left it—is open for tours, which include the country kitchen where wheelchair-bound Christina spent most of her time. (Note the windowsills still lined with pots of red geraniums, her favorite flower.) Visitors can also wander upstairs to the bedroom Wyeth used as a studio; those familiar with his body of work will recognize the view out the window. In 1995, the Olson House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For a look at the artistic legacy of three generations of Wyeths—Andrew, N. C., and Jamie—visit the Wyeth Center at the Farnsworth Museum (16 Museum St., Rockland; (207) 596-6457), located in a Shaker-style remodeled 1870s church across the main museum complex.