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Wyeth's death brings art lovers to Maine museum

Michael K. Komanecky (left), interim director and chief curator for the Farnsworth Art Museum viewed an Andrew Wyeth painting. About 70 paintings from the Wyeth family are in the museum. Michael K. Komanecky (left), interim director and chief curator for the Farnsworth Art Museum viewed an Andrew Wyeth painting. About 70 paintings from the Wyeth family are in the museum. (John Clarke Russ/Bangor Daily News via Associated Press)
Associated Press / January 20, 2009
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ROCKLAND, Maine - Visitors have been flocking to the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland after the death of painter Andrew Wyeth.

A steady flow of visitors streamed through the museum over the weekend, viewing the 70 or so pieces of work from Andrew Wyeth; his father, N.C. Wyeth; and his son, Jamie Wyeth. The museum has a gallery and study center devoted to the Maine-related work of the three generations of Wyeths.

Fred and Randy Knee of Gardiner were among those who visited Saturday. They had things to do around their home, but instead decided to visit the museum upon learning of Wyeth's death.

"We were sad. We've been great, great fans of his and this museum," Fred Knee said after he and his wife viewed a Wyeth exhibit. "I think he transcends the whole art world."

Wyeth, known for his landscapes of Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine in works such as "Christina's World," died Friday at the age of 91.

For about a century, members of the Wyeth family have been spending summers in towns in the midcoast area and on islands in Penobscot Bay.

The Farnsworth Art Museum is the second-biggest repository of Andrew Wyeth's works, behind the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa., which has hundreds of works by the Wyeths.

The Farnsworth in recent years has put on four exhibitions a year devoted entirely to Wyeth's work, said curator and interim director Michael Komanecky.

"Many people are coming to the museum, and I'm sure it's out of respect to Andy and his contributions to American art," Komanecky said.

Joe Arsenault of Brewer said Wyeth captured the essence of Maine in his paintings. "The everyday things that you don't really notice, he captured them."

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