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Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945)
Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945)

Brandywine Landscape

Details
Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945)
Brandywine Landscape
signed 'N.C. Wyeth' (lower right)
oil on canvas
47 ¾ x 43 in. (121.3 x 109 cm.)
Painted circa 1932-34.
Provenance
Archibald Hanna, Jr., Branford, Connecticut.
Russell Burke, New York, by 1987.
James B. Cummins, Bookseller, New York, 1987.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Literature
C.B. Podmaniczky, N.C. Wyeth: Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, vol. II, London, 2008, pp. 756, 880, no. L174, illustrated.

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Annie Rosen
Annie Rosen

Lot Essay

From his earliest days as an illustrator, Newell Convers Wyeth wanted to paint landscapes. "Wyeth had expressed a desire to become a landscape painter, and had had many conversations about this with his teacher Howard Pyle, who encouraged him to devote part of his time to such paintings." (D. Allen, D. Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth, New York, 1972, p. 174) He began seriously painting the countryside after he first moved to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in 1908. The artist's new surroundings provided the perfect subject for his landscape paintings. "Wyeth was enamored of this Brandywine countryside with its rolling fields and wooded hillsides, its streams and its meadows and its farms. He loved its historical associations and its serenity. He once explained during an interview: 'In me has revived a stronger and more vital interest and love for the life that lies about me. I am finding deeper pleasure, deeper meanings in the simple things in the country life here.'" (N.C. Wyeth, pp. 63-65)

Wyeth's landscape paintings, whether created as illustrations or purely for his own pleasure, are highly refined and successful. They retain "a curiously consistent style...a signature in every line and reach of light that is unmistakably his. His color is rich, warm, and freshly harmonious. He has an extraordinary skill at capturing the quality of light itself, not merely its symbolic representation in the arrangement of planes and their shadows, and he exercised it to the fullest, with an almost offhand delight in his mastery. His compositions are massive, with the play of great bodies, or loom of rock, or rise of tree, or the bulk of something fashioned by builders. There is substance to his forms and reality to his objects." (P. Horgan in N.C. Wyeth, p. 11)

Indeed, conceived on the large scale that is characteristic of his easel paintings, Brandywine Landscape is a powerful rendering of the topography of the Brandywine River Valley region of Pennsylvania. Its palette features dramatic contrasts between dark greens and blues and atmospheric whites, and the sky is painted with remarkably bold diagonal strokes. The large cloud looming over the horizon mirrors the shapes of the trees bending in the strong wind, and the foreground stream reflects this ominous, stormy sky. The resulting composition evokes dynamic movement and energy and reflects Wyeth's awe for his local landscape.

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