Tuesday, May 27, 2008

N. C. Wyeth

Self Portrait, N. C. Wyeth

Painting a cowboy in his studio, circa 1910

The Scythers, 1908

Illustration from The Last of the Mohicans, 1919

From the new quote on my sidebar, you have probably guessed by
now, that I have N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945) on my mind. Considered
one of America's greatest artists, he is most well known from his
magical illustrations for Scribner's Classics editions of some our
favorite children's books, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Last
of the Mohicans and The Yearling, among many others. Newell
Convers Wyeth, the patriarch of a great American artistic dynasty,
painted over 3000 works and illustrated 112 books. After being
trained by the renowned illustrator, Howard Pyle, the young 21
year old Wyeth left his native Massachusetts, for the west, working
as a cowboy to acquire direct knowledge for his illustrations. I highly
recommend David Michaelis' extensive biography, N. C. Wyeth. It's a
biggie at 555 pages, but is packed with compelling information, family
photos and prints of his paintings and illustrations. This robust,
deeply complex and passionate artist's traits are reflected in his
powerful works. Wyeth is one of those top ten historical figures that
I would love to invite to dinner. There would be plenty of colored
markers available and he would be encouraged to use the tablecloth
to illustrate his thoughts and adventures!


  1. Great post, Willow! I'm a fan of his work as well as of Andrew Wyeth's. Last year I read an Andrew Wyeth biography by Richard Meryman called "A Secret Life", after seeing an exhibit, "A House for Dreams to be made" from the studies of "Christina's World" in Cincinnati. I'm sending you an email so you can read it if you'd like.

    Back to the biography, it dealt with NC and Andrew's often turbulent relationship. If you haven't read it, I think you would find it very interesting.

  2. Oooooh, one of my favorite people ever: NC Wyeth. I always thought--what a fascinating man and what a creative, wonderful family he helped create. Beautiful artwork, too. If you had that dinner party, I 'd hope to be invited just so I could sit and listen. You made my day, Willow!

  3. Hi Willow, thanks for posting these remarkable images; I can see why he is an American classic.

    Goodness Willow, what would you serve at that dinner party? I'd love to hear that menu!

  4. Thanks Rebecca, I think I would enjoy "A Secret Life"...going to order it from the library right now!

    ABWC, I am glad you enjoyed it. Yes, you would definitely be on my invitation list! :)


    Lavinia, I would serve something filling and old fashioned, like beef stew, crusty homemade bread and merlot. Big meal for a mighty man! ;)

  5. I love the last of the Mohicans illustration. There's something dated, yet timeless about it. Love your blog. 'Antiquing' I thought at first you were English but that gave it away! I think it must be a sport in the USA. My dog is called Willow.

  6. Very interesting post Willow...I am familiar with Wyeth's paintings somewhat. His illustrations and earlier work more so. I love your reference to a dinner party with him as guest....crusty bread and beef stew sounds about right :)

  7. *waving my hand frantically* Please don't leave me off your dinner party list.

    I see I must add these two books to my reading list. I love the way N.C. is in back in vogue...to often in the art world the title illustrator is not as well received as artist. Personally, I like N.C.'s work more than Andrew or Jamie.

  8. Yes, Stevie, my dining room table seats about 12 comforably, so come on over! You HAVE to be here! :)

  9. What about dessert, Willow? Will it be the classic all-American Apple Pie a la mode? Or something richer, like Black Forest Cake?

    Heavens, let's not even touch the wine list! Or should we?!

  10. Love the Last of the Mohicans painting.

    I find it interesting that he did the hands-on cowboy thing. That's dedication to art.

  11. Lavinia, I think the dessert would have to be my world famous glazed apple pie with Graeter's vanilla ice cream. (I'm sure he would love it.)

  12. A dinner party for an artist is a dangerous venture...

  13. Wonderful. Thank you for educating me. I remember those illustrations from those books I read as a child.

  14. I especially like The Scythers....very beautiful!

  15. I see your peonies are in bloom! Mine are still tight little buds and probably won't open until next week! I have two new hot pink plants that I'm anxious to see this year!

  16. Good stuff. I love all the Wyeths. NC Wyeth was the first I stumbled upon in my history of children's book art class many years ago. My favourite is actually Andrew Wyeth's work, teh most famous being "Christina's World, " of course. I also love his "Master Bedroom" painting with its sleeping dog owning the bed!

  17. Willow...just noticed your sidebar photo of the Manor...it is just beautiful...love it!!

  18. such a conversational blog you have! it sounds like i could garner quite and art history education just hanging out in your dining room. do you have scholarships for those of us who are mere students? :)
    your friend, bird tweet robin from down the road

  19. Willow,
    Recently I discovered that I am related to N.C. Wyeth. My father is very Related. I wanted to know if you have ever met the Wyeth family?

  20. No, I have never met the family.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)