Andrew Wyeth’s infamous “Helga Paintings” in 1986 caused a stir that spilled outside the confines of the culture sections. It included all the ingredients of a good soap opera for the masses—deceit, fame, big money, and sex. Wyeth first met Helga Testorf in 1970 as she began working as a nurse for Wyeth’s neighbor, in 1971 Wyeth began sketching and painting Helga in the neighbors farmhouse. For the next 15 years only Wyeth and Testorf knew of the almost 250 works kept secret from, especially his wife. The full frontal nudity of some of the nudes opened Wyeth and Testorf up to rumors of infidelity to their respective spouses, but in the examination of Testorf’s physical “landscape” in such fine detail, Wyeth reached a depth of psychological portraiture rarely seen on such an epic scale outside of the long-term self-portraiture of Rembrandt or Van Gogh. Undoubtedly, “The Helga Paintings” are really about “love,” but whether they’re about love of art, love of the human form, love of a friend, love of a mistress, love of money, or all of the above.
“Christie’s auction house canceled the sale of 85 paintings by the Catalan Surrealist Joan Miro on Tuesday after an uproar over whether debt-ridden Portugal, their legal owner, could sell the treasures to buyers abroad. The auctioneers withdrew them from a London sale even though a Lisbon court threw out a suit by opposition lawmakers, prosecutors and the public trying to block the offer saying the government had violated the rules on classifying the artwork. The Miro collection, estimated at more than 35 million euros ($47 million), came into state hands in 2008 when Portugal nationalized the failed bank BPN that owned them.“
This last story lacks the love/sex part to be a good telenovela.