Andrew Wyeth was a realist painter whose work, as one critic put it, represented "continuity and permanence in the face of instabilities and uncertainties of modern life.” Wyeth began studying art in 1932 under his father, the illustrator Newell Convers Wyeth (1882–1945). Wyeth’s first solo show—at the Macbeth Gallery, New York, in 1936—was a complete success. Although his early works were in watercolor, he soon changed to egg tempera, a Renaissance-era medium that demanded great care and delicacy, allowing complexity and detail in his canvases. Wyeth’s paintings blended vivid landscapes and insightful portraits of the land and the people around his hometown of Chadds Ford, in rural Pennsylvania, and his summer home in Cushing, Maine. One subject was Christina Olson, a polio survivor and friend of Wyeth’s wife, Betsy. Helga Testorf, a neighbor in Chadds Ford, was another notable subject. Wyeth received many awards during his lifetime. He was the first artist to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1963) and was the first living artist to exhibit at the U.S. White House (1966). In 1977 he made his first trip to Europe to be admitted to the Académie des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts) in Paris.