Andrew Wyeth was an American realist painter famous for his painting “Christina’s World” (see below). The title was the idea of his wife Betsy James. She named all his paintings after their marriage as far as I know.
Christina Olson was the subject in the painting. She had polio and was disabled. She was crawling across the field. She was 55 when the work was created. Wyeth’s wife provided some of the modelling for the figure.
I had always thought (incorrectly) that the painting was of a youngish woman who lived an insular, poor life in the middle of the American countryside with her parents. That may have been the intended impression or perhaps Wyeth left it up to the viewer to create their own feelings. It is an extremely evocative and sad but beautiful painting (for me).
Wyeth knew Christina well and just for the record, she had a cat companion (as far as I can tell). Wyeth painted her black cat sitting on her chest. I can’t find that image. On this page I reproduce a sketch made by Wyeth (that is still worth hundreds of thousands of dollars) of Christina’s Bedroom with her black cat on her bed. It was painted in 1947, one year before Christina’s World.
The house in the painting still stands and is a tourist attraction. It is called Olson House. I just think it is nice to find a connection between this iconic American painting and a cat.
Note: The website Astsy strives to make all of the world’s art accessible to anyone online. Their Andrew Wyeth page, for example, provides visitors with Wyeth’s bio, hi-res images of his art, exclusive articles, as well as up-to-date Wyeth exhibition listings. Visit it to read more about this great artist.