Do you recognize this place? Perhaps you know where I'm going with this, or perhaps this looks like any other farmhouse/barn combo in Maine (I'll be honest, when I first saw it I had no clue why it was special).

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1) You've Probably Seen It Before... In This Painting.

It's featured in one of the most notable paintings from the 20th century. Okay, maybe you already knew that. After all, it's the reason it's famous. The house and barn from Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth (below) sits peacefully in Cushing, Maine.


2) Everyone Poses Identically With It.

If you search Olson House on instagram, you instantly find dozens of tourists and locals posing in front of the landmark in the same way. If you didn't pose like Christina Olson from Christina's World, were you even at the Olson House? What people may not realize is that Olson actually suffered from a degenerative nerve disease that prevented her from walking. Rather than employ a wheelchair, Olson chose to drag herself around the house and grounds, hence the painting's title. This is how she navigated the world. It's not the first time a painting's explanation has made poses imitating it a little less fun...

3) Wyeth and Olson Are Buried Nearby

Just down the hill from the Olson house, at an angle that closely resembles that of Christina's World, Andrew Wyeth's headstone can be found facing the farmhouse. His grave lies in the family plot of Christina Olson and her brother Alvaro. They were very close friends and Wyeth used the Olson house and Christina as subjects in dozens of his pieces. It was his final wish to be laid to rest with Christina, according to his family.

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4) At First, It Flopped
Though it became his best-known work and an iconic piece of American art history, Wyeth considered the painting of the Olson house to be a failure. When he finished the painting in 1948, he called it "a complete flat tire". This may have been partially due to the fact that his timing was a little off - at the time, Abstract Expressionism was all the rage, which left his work of magical realism to be met with little enthusiasm.
5) The Farmhouse Is A National LandmarkThe Olson house has inspired a plethora of paintings and sketches, including over 300 works by the hand of Wyeth. This is due in part to the Olsons allowing him to use the house as his studio. Wyath was attached not only to the family, but the house itself. He once explained his obsession with it:

"In the portraits of that house, the windows are eyes or pieces of the soul almost. To me, each window is a different part of Christina's life."

For all this, the Olson House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011. As part of the Farnsworth Museum, the house is now open to the public and it's largely in the same shape as it was when Wyeth painted there, save for some updates to its structural integrity.