In this May 1985 file photo, American artist Andrew Wyeth poses with his wife Betsy at an unknown location in front of his paintings “The Patriot,” left, and “Maga’s Daughter” for which Betsy was the model. Betsy James Wyeth, the widow, business manager and muse of painter Andrew Wyeth, died Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at age 98, according to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pa., which she helped found. (Associated Press file)

In this May 1985 file photo, American artist Andrew Wyeth poses with his wife Betsy at an unknown location in front of his paintings “The Patriot,” left, and “Maga’s Daughter” for which Betsy was the model. Betsy James Wyeth, the widow, business manager and muse of painter Andrew Wyeth, died Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at age 98, according to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pa., which she helped found. (Associated Press file)

Betsy Wyeth, widow and muse of Andrew Wyeth, dies at 98

CHADDS FORD, Pa. (AP) — Betsy James Wyeth, the widow, business manager and muse of painter Andrew Wyeth, died Tuesday at age 98, according to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, which she helped found.

She was a guiding force throughout her husband’s career, documenting and promoting his work and the legacy of a family that included book illustrator N.C. Wyeth, her father-in-law, and painter Jamie Wyeth, her son.

After the former’s death, she compiled and edited “The Wyeths: The Letters of N. C. Wyeth, 1901-1945,” a book that led to a reassessment of his career. In 1976 she published the first book on her husband’s work, “Wyeth at Kuerners,” followed by “Christina’s World” in 1982.

Betsy James met Andrew Wyeth in Maine, where their families lived, and married him a year later, in 1940. They divided their time between coastal Maine and the sloping hills of Chadds Ford in southeastern Pennsylvania, the landscapes he captured in his muted, often melancholy paintings. He died in 2009.

Speaking to biographer Richard Meryman in 1966, Andrew Wyeth said his wife “made me see more clearly what I wanted.”

“Betsy galvanized me at the time I needed it,” Wyeth said. “She’s made me into a painter that I would not have been otherwise.”

Early in their marriage, Betsy Wyeth introduced her husband to neighbor Christina Olson, who became the subject of his 1948 series, “Christina’s World.”

In the early 1970s, she helped turn a 19th-century gristmill into the Brandywine River Museum, providing a public home for hundreds of pieces by three generations of the family. The museum plans to honor Betsy Wyeth, when it reopens after the COVID-19-related shutdown, with an exhibit of 18 works her husband made depicting her over the years.

Betsy Wyeth died at home in Chadds Ford after several years of declining health, a family spokesperson told The Philadelphia Inquirer. She is also survived by another son, Nicholas, an art dealer, and a granddaughter.

More in Entertainment

Moving Pictures Festival accepting submissions

Peninsula College is accepting submissions for its 11th Moving… Continue reading

Bear Chashin, 4, wins his age 3-4 trike race during the Rhody Festival Kids Trike Races on Water Street in Port Townsend on Wednesday. The festival continues with a kiddie parade, hair and beard contest and bed races today, plus the grand parade at 1 p.m. Saturday and the Rhody Run at 9 a.m. Sunday. For a complete list of events, go to https://rhodyfestival.org. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Port Townsend pedalers

Bear Chashin, 4, wins his age 3-4 trike race during the Rhody… Continue reading

Forest bathing guide Ellen Falconer's picture of visitors to the Memory's Vault art installation at Fort Worden is among the photos in a new book. (Ellen Falconer)
‘Memory’s Vault’ to be celebrated by artist, poets

Two events this weekend in Port Townsend

Claire Ragland, left, and Isabel Elena Pérez are two of the artists who will discuss their work in a free talk about the "Lush Language" exhibit on Thursday. (Northwind Art)
Free artist talk to dive into ‘Lush Language’

Aquatint etchings, pastels on black paper, house paint on… Continue reading

Rhody Fest, plant sales highlight weekend events

The annual Rhody Festival in Port Townsend joins community plays and plant… Continue reading

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats to perform at Eaglemount Cidery

Rick Estrin and The Nightcats will perform at 7:30… Continue reading

Tickets on sale for Tarboo Indie Music Festival

Tickets are on sale for the inaugural Tarboo Indie Music… Continue reading

Monday Musicale to feature soft rock

Monday Musicale will meet for lunch at noon Monday.… Continue reading

Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra to conduct membership meeting

The Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra will conduct a membership… Continue reading

Blake McCabe of Port Angeles will host Drag Brunch Bingo at Studio Bob.
Studio Bob to host Drag Brunch Bingo experience

Drag Brunch Bingo, originally scheduled for Sunday at Studio… Continue reading