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Wyeth's last painting is being published

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, May 24 2009 11:01 a.m. MDT

ROCKLAND, Maine — The last painting created by Andrew Wyeth before his death is being published for the first time, in a journal that focuses on coastal Maine where Wyeth spent much of life and found inspiration for many of his paintings.

Wyeth's "Goodbye" will be featured in the 25th anniversary edition of the Island Journal, which goes into circulation this weekend.

The egg tempera painting depicts an island scene. Look closely, however, and you'll see a sloop sailing off the canvas.

Wyeth completed the painting last year and it was displayed at the Brandywine River Museum near his suburban Philadelphia home after his death on Jan. 16 at the age of 91.

Wyeth's widow, Betsy, agreed to let the Island Institute publish the painting as part of a folio of more than a dozen Wyeth works. The Island Institute is a Rockland-based organization dedicated to issues affecting Maine's island and working-waterfront communities.

Peter Ralston, the institute's executive vice president who has known the Wyeths for more than 50 years, said he traveled to Chadds Ford, Pa., the day Wyeth died at his home there.

"That's when I had the idea that it would be really lovely as a eulogy and heartfelt tip of the hat to Andy if we could publish a folio of his island works in this 25th anniversary Island Journal," Ralston said.

Wyeth kept a summer home in Maine, and he and his wife donated 10 signed limited-edition prints of Wyeth's painting "The Reefer," which shows a man descending a lighthouse staircase, to help raise money to get the Island Institute off the ground.

The new Island Journal edition also features photographs taken by Ralston of Wyeth and his wife. One of those photos was taken Oct. 15, the day that Wyeth completed "Goodbye," Ralston said.

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On the Net: www.islandinstitute.org

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