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October 20, 2009

N.C. Wyeth: A Close-Up View

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Have you ever had the opportunity to examine original illustration art by N.C. Wyeth, one of the most famous American illustrators of the early 20th century?

You probably have that opportunity if you live in the Philadelphia-Wilmington region because Wilmington's Delaware Art Museum and the Brandywine River Museum in Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania have examples of his paintings.

For those who haven't seen a Wyeth "up close and personal," it can kinda sorta be done on this here Internet thingy!

The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in far-off Cody, Wyoming devotes a wing to the Guggenheim Gallery of Western Art which has a few N.C. Wyeth items in its collection.

Better yet, the museum's web site allows viewers to examine paintings in detail. Of course it's not the same thing as seeing a painting in person, but the results aren't bad at all, as I can attest -- having visited the museum recently.

Here is a circa-1911 Wyeth painting of men encountering a bear; it later was art for a Remington Arms advertisement. Click on the link and wait for a few seconds, as the image will take a little while to build. Once it's in place you can enlarge it considerably and move the image frame around to suit your interest.

If you're curious about Wyeth's work from his prime years (roughly 1905-1920, in my opinion), you can zoom in close enough to view small areas of color. And, like me, you will probably notice that areas that generally appear "warm" (reds, oranges, yellows, etc.) have bits of "cool" (blues, violets, blue-greens) colors visible. The reverse is true for cool areas. Also check out the brushwork on the foreground hunter's boots. This can be a real educational opportunity for those who are interested in the craft of painting.



posted by Donald at October 20, 2009


Anyone who's interested in illustration must make the pilgrimage to the Wyeth Museum and the nearby Delaware Art Museum with it's marvelous collection of golden age illustrators. You will think you are in heaven. You must also see N.C. Wyeth's home and studio, so remarkably preserved as it was on the day he died. You can still feel his presence. Then, not far away from the studio, is the fatal railroad crossing. What a mystery his death is! I visited Brandywine for ten days a few summers back, and it was the best vacation I ever had. It's a remarkable part of the country.

Posted by: Faze on October 21, 2009 6:42 PM

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