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Chester County Press

Helen Sipala, who was a model for Andrew Wyeth, releases new book based on conversations with the famous artist

04/25/2021 07:48PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Artist Andrew Wyeth’s model and confidante Helen Sipala has released a book written from diaries she kept of conversations with the famous American artist. The book, Beyond the Marriage Bed: My Years as Friend, Model and Confidante of Andrew Wyeth, was published this month by Regent Press of Berkeley, CA.

Beyond the Marriage Bed is an intimate look at Andrew Wyeth the artist and the man and his close relationship with Helen Sipala, model and confidante. The book gives a rare glimpse into the world of a true and talented artist through Helen’s 20-year diary. Wyeth didn’t want his life “sugar-coated” and Helen didn’t do so.

An Amazon review stated, “The book dives into the good, the bad and the ugly. It reveals a heartfelt personal account of friendship, wealth, love, folly, infatuation, heartache, hardship and tearful moments among the buttercups. An eye opener and page turner!”

A book signing will take place on Wednesday, May 5 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Barbara Moore Fine Art, in the Chadds Ford Village and Barn Shops, 1609 Baltimore Pike, Suite 400 A, Chadds Ford. 

The cost of the 200-page book is $29.95 The book can be obtained from Barbara Moore Fine Art, the Regent Press,, or other social media book sites.

In March of 1989, Helen and George Sipala met Wyeth after they purchased the Chadds Ford home known as Painter’s Folly. Renowned artist Howard Pyle used the home to teach art students, including Wyeth’s father, N. C. Wyeth. During the years, Andrew Wyeth visited Helen and George regularly, sharing meals. The trio became close friends. A sought-after Christmas invitation was Wyeth holiday parties hosted by Helen and George Sipala. 

During their years of friendship, Andrew shared many private thoughts with Helen. Helen also observed Wyeth, an American master painter, as he created many of his masterpieces. Andrew invited the couple to major national and local art events. The couple’s home, especially the Widow’s Walk, was treated as a studio by Wyeth.

“Over the years, he stated several times that he hoped I ‘was writing all this down.’ You will see by my notes when this happened I never responded to him. It was a known fact Andy preferred that writers not make his stories ‘sweet’ but to ‘put an edge to it,’” as Helen wrote in her Introduction.

The dedication to Wyeth captures the sense of the book, “Yes Andy, I did write it down just as you “hoped” I would.  I think you would be proud that the world now knows the REAL Andy:  sensitive, generous, compassionate, comical, humble and a true gentleman!”

Helen worked with Chester County author Bruce E. Mowday on the manuscript and editing of the diary.