Sunday, August 1, 2010

SWAS: N. C. Wyeth

Above the Sea of Round, Shiny Backs the Thin Loops Swirled and Shot into Volumes of Dust, 1904. 
Newell Convers Wyeth, known popularly as N. C. Wyeth, was born in Needham, Massachussets in 1882. He was a pupil of Howard Pyle at his School of Art in Wilmington, Delaware. Wyeth is best known for his illustrations of classic children's literature. His first illustrated book was for the Charles Scribner's Sons edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. He went on to illustrate more than a dozen classic novels, for both Charles Scribner's Sons and other publishers, including Robinson Crusoe, The Last of the Mohicans, The Deer Slayer and Kidnapped.

Howard Pyle emphasized that the artist should paint from his experiences and N. C. Wyeth took his advice seriously. He traveled to the Western United States three times between 1904 and 1906. It was this period and later that he painted many of his best Western paintings, including the featured oil on canvas above. He died in 1944, but his work continues to inspire and help define the romantic vision of the early American West. N. C. Wyeth's son, Andrew, and grandson James, are also successful artists.

Above the Sea of Round, Shiny Backs the Thin Loops Swirled and Shot into Volumes of Dust was painted at Colorado in 1904. N. C. Wyeth was only 22 years of age when he painted this beautiful and romantic piece. It has a richly textured style that captures both the harshness of the Western desert and the lifestyle of the working cowboy. Its colors are muted, which focuses the audiences attention to the panicked horses and the working cowboys. It is a truly beautiful painting.

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