Wyeth, N. C. (1882-1945) by Longacre, Jeffrey

Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945) was a prolific illustrator and painter for from 1904 through the early 1920s. His unique style, which blended a dramatic expressionism with staunch realism, was a major influence on his contemporaries and contributed much to the visual appeal of , especially in the early decades of the twentieth century. Newell Convers Wyeth Scribner’s Magazine Scribner’s Wyeth was born on October 22, 1882 in Needham, Massachusetts. His father was a descendant of , a mason who came to Massachusetts from England in 1645. It was his mother, however, who nurtured Wyeth’s artistic sensibilities. As a boy growing up on a farm, he developed a life-long love of nature and the outdoors. After first attending Mechanic Arts High School in Boston, where he concentrated on drafting, Wyeth transferred to the Massachusetts Normal Art School where he became interested in illustration. Nicholas Wyeth In October 1902, Wyeth followed two of his friends to the Howard Pyle School of Art in Wilmington, Delaware. was the most celebrated of American illustrators at the time and he would become the biggest influence on Wyeth’s career. Pyle was a meticulous realist, stressing the importance of painting from first-hand experience, and he encouraged Wyeth to travel out west in 1904. This trip provided the foundation for Wyeth’s early canvases of western subjects. After a second trip west two years later, Wyeth married of Wilmington, and the couple eventually settled in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Howard Pyle Carolyn Brenneman Bockius Wyeth’s first commission as an illustrator was an image of a bucking bronco that would grace the cover of the February 21, 1903 edition of . On March 21, 1904, Wyeth met with , the head of the art department at Charles Scribner’s Sons. Although he would publish illustrations in a variety of periodicals over the next four decades, including , , , , and , it was his work for the House of Scribner, especially his illustrations for their series of books, that secured Wyeth’s reputation as the premier illustrator of his era. The Saturday Evening Post Joseph Chapin Century Harper’s Monthly Ladies’ Home Journal McClure’s Outing Illustrated Classics In 1911, commissioned Wyeth to illustrate an edition of by . The 17 images that Wyeth created for this volume revolutionized the field of book illustration, setting the trend for those who followed. The so-called were and according to biographer , who goes on to claim that (210, 211). In addition to , Wyeth produced illustrations for a variety of other classics, including (1913), (1916), (1917), (1918), (1919), (1925), and (1939). Scribner’s Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson Wyeth editions widely imitated had liberated adventure literature by making it a medium of both sensuous and aesthetic pleasure, David Michaelis [t]he words ‘Pictures by N. C. Wyeth’ came to stand for literature as it had never been pictured before Treasure Island Kidnapped The Black Arrow The Boy’s King Arthur The Mysterious Island The Last of the Mohicans The Deerslayer The Yearling Wyeth was a frequent contributor to during the period represented in the MJP archive, producing striking illustrations for a broad range of subject matter— from western subjects and American pastorals to romantic depictions of pirates and medieval knights. By 1919, Wyeth had produced 261 pictures for and the ; according to Michaelis, (271). Scribner’s Magazine Scribner’s Magazine Illustrated Classics he thrived under patronage Scribner’s Wyeth always aspired to be known of as a painter, even to the point of resenting his reputation as a commercial illustrator. Later in life, he received some accolades as a muralist, and, in 1940, (Brandywine). Wyeth would not live to see this massive work completed, however, as he died in a car accident at a railroad crossing in 1945. Wyeth had six children who all followed in his creative footsteps as artists or inventors. The most famous of his children, , gained an international reputation as a painter in his own right. he accepted a commission from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York City, for an ambitious scheme illustrating Pilgrim life Andrew Wyeth For selections of Wyeth’s illustrations in , click on Retrieve Images below. Scribner’s Magazine —Jeffrey Longacre Selected Bibliography 20 July, 2009. . Brandywine River Museum’s N. C. Wyeth Catalogue Raisonné Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1987. Duff, J. An American Vision: Three Generations of Wyeth Art. New York: Knopf, 1998. Michaelis, David. N. C. Wyeth, A Biography. Boston: Gambit, 1971; reprint, Brandywine River Museum, 2008. Wyeth, Betsy James. The Wyeths; The Letters of N. C. Wyeth, 1901-1945.

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