Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945) was born in his parents' home on the outskirts of Needham, Massachusetts. Early in his life, young N.C. demonstrated an aptitude for art and by the time he reached his mid-teens, Wyeth knew that he wanted to pursue a career as an artist. His mother, the former Henriette Zirngiebel, took some of her son's drawings to Boston to discern whether her son's talents were worth cultivating through formal art classes. Soon thereafter, N.C. Wyeth was sent to the Mechanic Arts School in Boston to learn drafting and, later, the Massachusetts Normal Arts School to study illustration. He studied under several noted illustrators of the time, including Richard Andrew, George L. Noyes and Charles W. Reed. However, Wyeth's most famous teacher was the eminent and prolific illustrator and artist, Howard Pyle.
Howard Pyle opened an art school in Wilmington, Delaware where he hand-selected students to train tuition-free. Pyle personally invited promising artists such as Stanley Arthurs, Philip Hoyt, James McBurney, Ethel Franklin Betts, Sarah Stillwell, Ellen Thompson and Frank E. Schoonover to study with him in Wilmington. This was the Golden Age of American Illustration and Pyle was one among the finest practitioners and teachers of the art of illustration.
Wyeth was invited to study with Pyle in 1902. His study under Pyle influenced Wyeth's illustrations. Pyle taught his students the concept of "Mental Projection." It was through this means that the viewer might sense fully whatever needed to be portrayed on canvas. Pyle explained, "One must live in the picture." Pyle also believed in practical experience as part of the maturing process. Accordingly, Pyle encouraged his students to experience life first-hand and to use these experiences to create vivid and exciting illustrations. Certainly the art of both Pyle and N.C. Wyeth exude an energy, imagination and charisma previously unseen in illustrations. Wyeth's works, in particular, are very powerful, immediate and action-packed.
Wyeth's first published illustration --entitled "Bronco Buster" -- was the cover of the February 21, 1903 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. Soon after that success, Wyeth's fame began to spread and his career burgeoned. His works began to be published in other leading magazines such as Harper's Weekly, Century, Scribner's, Cosmopolitan, and Youth's Companion.
As the Golden Age of American Illustration began to wane, N.C. Wyeth developed an interest in mural painting and commercial art, including calendars. Of particular note are the calendars he created for both Hercules Incorporated and the John Morrell and Company, a meat packing business. The themes of the Hercules Incorporated calendars were: · The Three Hunters, 1933 · The Seeker, 1934 · New Trails, 1935 · The Alchemist, 1938 · A New World, 1939 · The Pioneers, 1940 · Primal Chemistry, 1942 · Sweet Land of Liberty, 1944 · The Spirit of '46, 1946
In addition to his popularly acclaimed commercial art and children's books illustrations, Wyeth also created a number of stunning impressionistic paintings of the Pennsylvania countryside and the land around his summer home in Port Clyde, Maine. Wyeth is said to have been influenced by Giovanni Segantini during this period in his career.
Wyeth married Carolyn Bockius of Wilmington, DE in 1906 and settled in nearby Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania where he built a home and studio overlooking the historic Brandywine Valley. The Wyeths had five children: Henriette, Carolyn, Ann, Nathaniel and Andrew. Andrew is himself a noted American painter and Andrew's son, Jamie, continues the Wyeth legacy in the art world. If you have an interest in learning more about the historic Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania (Chester County), check out this internet site: · Chadds Ford Historical Society - http://www.chaddsfordhistory.org/
Something About the Author, vol. 17. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979. pg. 262.
Wyeth, N.C. The Wyeths: The intimate correspondence of N.C. Wyeth: 1901-1945. ed. Betsy James Wyeth Boston: Gambit, 1971.
Allen, Douglas and Allen, Douglas Jr., N.C. Wyeth: The collected paintings, illustrations and murals. New York : Bonanza Books, 1984. This book contains a comprehensive bibliography of the published works of N.C. Wyeth.
NOTE: This bibliography does not include reprints, translations, compilations, serial illustrations, non-book items for home decoration such as wallpaper and tiles, or the picture books -- mostly unpublished. In addition, books to which Smith contributed but did not illustrate entirely are not included. For a full and complete listing of all of N.C. Wyeth's extensive works, see:
Allen, Douglas and Allen, Douglas, Jr. N.C. Wyeth: the Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals. New York: Bonanza Books, 1984.
Items held by the University of Pittsburgh are followed by the item's location number.
Baldwin, James. Sampo. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912.
Bible. Parables of Jesus. McKay, 1931.
Boyd, James. Drums. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928.
Bullfinch, Thomas. Legends of Charlemagne. Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1924.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Deerslayer. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1919.
Creswick, Paul. Robin Hood. David McCay, 1917.
Dafoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1920.
Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1983 reprint.
Dodge, Mary Mapes. Hans Brinker. Garden City Publishing, 1932.
Doyle, A. Conan. The White Company. Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1922.
Fox, Charles Jr. The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931.
Homerus. The Odyssey of Homer. Massacheusetts : Houghton Mifflin, 1929.
Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle. Philadelphia : David McKay, 1921.
Jackson, Helen Hunt. Ramona. Little, Brown & Company, 1939.
Johnson, Edna and C. E. Scott, compilers. Anthology of Children's Literature. Houghton, 1940, reissued, 1960.
Kingsley, Charles. Westward Ho! New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920.
Longfellow, Henry W. The Courtship of Miles Standish. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Son of Hiawatha. Houghton, 1929.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Song of Hiawatha. with illustrations & designs by Frederie Remington, Maxfield Parrish & N.C. Wyeth. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1908.
Malory, Sir Thomas. Boy's King Arthur. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1917.
Matthews, Brander. Poems of American Patriotism. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922.
Parkman, Francis. The Oregon Trail. Little, Brown & Company, 1925.
Porter, Jane. The Scottish Chiefs. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921.
Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan. The Yearling. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1939.
Rawlings, Marjorie K. The Yearling. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, reissued, 1968.
Rollins, Philip Ashton. Jinglebob. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1930.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Black Arrow. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. David Balfour. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Kidnapped. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913.
Stevenson, Robert Lewis. Treasure Island. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911.
Stevenson, Robert Lewis. Treasure Island. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981 (reprint).
Twain, Mark. The Mysterious Stranger. Harper & Sons, 1916.
Verne, Jules. Michael Strogoff. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1918.
Verne, Jules. Michael Strogoff. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927.
Verne, Jules. The Mysterious Island. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1918.
Examples of N.C. Wyeth's Work
[The Bronco Buster]. This was N.C. Wyeth's first published illustration. Entitled, "The Bronco Buster," it appeared on the cover of the February 21, 1903 edition of The Saturday Evening Post when Wyeth was 21 years old while a student of Howard Pyle. [King Mark Slew the Noble Night Sir Tristram]. Wyeth's illustrated many notable children's classics for Charles Scribner's Sons, including The Boy's King Arthur (1917). This illustration shows King Mark killing Sir Tristram. A notable feature of this particular picture is the inclusion of a woman as a central character of the work. Since many of the classic children's stories of Wyeth's age may be characterized as boy's adventure stories (e.g., Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe), it is not unusual that few women are depicted. [The Hostage]. This illustration from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson was published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1911 and featured brilliant illustrations by Wyeth. This gritty illustration exemplifies Wyeth's gift for action and drama.
This resource guide represents the combined work of the following people: Donna Gerson, Michelle Frisque, Beth Kean, and Elizabeth T. Mahoney.