Christie's | Fine Art Auction House


3 November 2009  |  Fine Art - Other   |  Article

Color, Drama, Action: N.C. Wyeth’s Illustrations for Robinson Crusoe

 “I walked about the shore lifting up my hands and my whole being…”
- From Robison Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

In 1922, the Wilmington Institute Library—one of Delaware’s oldest institutions—purchased fourteen paintings from legendary illustrator Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth to decorate the walls of its reading rooms. The suite of original oil paintings narrate pivotal scenes from Daniel Defoe’s classic 1920 novel, Robinson Crusoe, an adventurous tale of a castaway stranded on an island for almost 30 years. Wyeth, a prodigiously talented artist, provided illustrations for numerous novels, among them Treasure Island, Robin Hood, and The Last of the Mohicans. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Library’s physical plant and endowment.

According to Eric Widing, Head of Christie’s American Paintings department, “These illustrations of Defoe’s classic adventure tale have inspired generations of readers. To see the nearly complete set, in such pristine condition, acquired directly by the artist—this presents an incredibly rare opportunity to acquire a piece of American art and literary history.”

From One Generation to the Next
N.C. Wyeth fathered two generations of exceptional American painters, including the late Andrew Wyeth, his son, and Jamie Wyeth, his grandson. All three generations will be represented in our forthcoming auction.

Related Sale
Sale 2225
Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture
2 Dec 2009
New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Related Artists
Andrew Wyeth
Jamie Wyeth
Newell Convers Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth
Jamie Wyeth
Newell Convers Wyeth
20th Century
United States of America

Lot 125, Sale 2225
Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945)
Robinson Crusoe, Cover
Price Realized: $722,500