The National Gallery of Art has been willed a well-known tempera painting by Andrew Wyeth called "Snowflurries."
The 1953 painting is from the estate of Dr. Margaret J. Handy, the pediatrician who cared for Wyeth's children, who died February 5 at the age of 87. She lived in Chadds Ford, Pa., near the Wyeths.
Art experts estimate the value of the 37- by 40-inch painting at between $150,000 and $200,000. A stipulation in the will was that "Snowflurries" may never be sold or traded.
In the catalog of the recent exhibition of Wyeth's paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Wyeth said of this painting. ". . . there is not much in it. It's just a hill where I walked a great deal . . . Many times, while I was painting this picture. I felt like throwing it through a window. In it there's very little to grasp and everything to grasp actually. I think the thing that got me the most about it was the fact that Dr. Handy understood it enough to want the picture. God knows, when I finished it, I just didn't know . . . I was greatly taken by the reflection of the clouds that have moved over the bill. Sky and hill are united . . ."
According to persons close to Dr. Handy, she owned about a dozen paintings by Andrew Wyeth.One of the most famous of these paints, "Children's Doctor" (a portrait of Dr. Handy), was willed to the artist's wife, Betsy James Wyeth. The other Wyeth paintings in her collection are willed is relatives and other heirs.
The doctor's will, written two years ago left a 1964 tempera "March Hawk" to the Brandywine River Museum at Chadds Ford. But last year Dr. Handy traded that painting to the Wyeths for a more recent tempera, "Pine Baron," which she admired greatly. "Marsh Hawk," therefore, was not part of her estate and was sold last spring by Coe Kerr Gallery in New York to a "private individual."
The Tri-County Conservancy, of which the Brandywine River Museum is a part, is a recipient of her house and land near the Wyeth house in Chadds Ford.