I have read the biography "Andrew Wyeth, a Secret Life" (Richard Meryman) three times and have revisited passages since his death at 91 this past January. While keeping an eye on CNN and Fox coverage of Michael Jackson yesterday afternoon, I remembered that the two had met in 1985 and that Meryman recounts the story in his book.
Jackson sent word to Wyeth that he wanted to have his portrait painted. When Wyeth's entourage of dealers and agents heard of the possible portrait, they were thrilled at the idea of the millions that would be made from the painting and subsequent reproductions. Andrew refers to them "like mafia" who used him for money and didn't care about him at all. And, of course, they all wanted to be photographed with Jackson who apparently had an entourage of his own.
The two artists met at the Brandywine River Museum where they looked at Andrews paintings and talked.
Andy states," I found him a very sweet, sensitive person, very nice, very intelligent."
At some point a man from Jackson's entourage marched in the stated that Michael had ten more minutes and then they were leaving.
Andy goes on to say, "We had a real thing going between us and then these shits got into it. The poor guy was owned by these people. I felt sorry for him. God help any artist that gets caught up in that."
Though he felt a real connection to Michael, Andrew bowed out of the project saying, "Imagine me painting with those guards standing there."
So, we have no amazing portrait of Michael Jackson by Andrew Wyeth, two great artists who sadly now are both gone.