Ruohomaa met American realist painter Andrew Wyeth in 1947 through their mutual acquaintance, the sculptor George Curtis. The two had a long friendship which sometimes led to unusual adventures and some notable creative collaborations, as in this group of photographs.
One summer a few years after the two met (probably in 1951), Ruohomaa accompanied Wyeth, along with friends and acquaintances, to Louds Island near Bristol, Maine. Wyeth had discovered and bought a 19th-century hearse there, and rounded up some help to ferry it back to Cushing. The task turned into a high-spirited gathering, which Ruohomaa memorialized with his camera and later with a written account. Ruohomaa’s documentation of the event was casual and personal; it wasn’t published.
The purchase of the hearse was evidently a whim. Wyeth never made a painting of the antique vehicle. He stored it for a time at the Olson farmstead, the home of his friends, siblings Christina and Alvaro Olson (Christina was the inspiration for Wyeth’s iconic 1948 painting “Christina’s World”). It is currently (2021) in the holdings of the Maine State Museum in Augusta.Browse Images