Midwest Book Review of BEYOND THE MARRIAGE BED
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
The Biography Shelf
Beyond The Marriage Bed
Hellen Murray Sipala, author
Bruce E. Mowday and Simsun Greco, editors
2747 Regent St., Berkeley, CA 94705
9781587905599, $29.95, HC, 208pp
Synopsis: For two decades famed artist Andrew Wyeth forged a special relationship with neighbors Helen and George Sipala. The couple was a special part of Andrew’s world and their home, Painter’s Folly, became a home-away-from-home refuge for Andrew and also a studio.
Andrew included the couple in many of his special events, from art openings in New York City to a movie preview with Charlton Heston. Helen and George hosted Christmas parties for Andrew and Andrew invited the couple to spend time with him in Maine during summers.
Besides being a friend, hostess and model for Andrew, Helen was a confident of the painter. Helen and Andrew spent many hours discussing painting, family, religion and other sensitive subjects.
Andrew suggested that Helen keep a diary of their meetings and talks. He hoped Helen “was writing all this down.” If Helen was to share their relationship, Andrew wanted her to not make his stories “sweet” but to “put an edge to it.”
Critique: Deftly edited by Bruce Mowday and Simsun Greco, and an absolute ‘must read’ for the legions of Andrew Wyeth fans, “Beyond the Marriage Bed: My Years as Friend, Model and Confidante of Andrew Wyeth” by Helen Murray Sipala is inherently fascinating chronicle of the relationship among Andrew Wyeth and Helen and George Sipala. Enhanced with the inclusion of a section dedicated to black-and-white photographs, “Beyond the Marriage Bed” is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, college and university library American Biography collections in general, and Andrew Wyeth supplemental studies curriculum reading lists in particular.
Editorial Note: An author and newspaper reporter, Bruce E. Mowday has read a number of books on Andrew Wyeth, N. C. Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth and the rest of the Wyeth clan. He spent many hours at the Brandywine River Museum of Art looking at the wonderful collection of Wyeth art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The Wyeth paintings became like old and treasured friends. Having covered the case as a newspaper reporter, Mowday authored the book “Stealing Wyeth”, about the theft of 15 paintings from the Andrew and Betsy Wyeth estate. He also maintains an informative website at www.mowday.com