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Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945)
Property from the Hercules Incorporated Collection
Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945)

A New World

Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945) A New World signed 'N.C. Wyeth' (upper left) oil on canvas 50 x 34¼ in. (127 x 87 cm.)
Commissioned by the present owner in 1938.
D. Allen and D. Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals, New York, 1972, p. 153

Lot Essay

This work was illustrated on the 1939 Hercules Powder Company calendar.

"When Hercules Powder Company started business in 1913, the young company had to prove it could produce high-quality products, delivered on time and at a reasonable price. It also had to establish its identity in the industrial world. One of its early forms of advertising was an annual calendar. The first calendar was published for the year 1918 with a reproduction of a commissioned oil painting by A.D. Fuller entitled, 'Not This Trip, Old Pal.' It depicted an American serviceman leaving for duty during World War I. Over the years, new oil paintings or watercolors by famous artists were commissioned that reflected the events at the time. The last such calendar was published in 1958, but Hercules was careful to save many of the original works by other famous artists such as N.C. Wyeth, Dean Cornwell, Norman Rockwell, and Peter Hurd." (Hercules Incorporated, Labors of a Modern Hercules: Evolution of a Chemical Company, Hercules original calendar art from the period 1918 to 1955, Wilmington, Delaware, 1990, brochure)

N.C. Wyeth and Hercules Incorporated shared a long and fruitful relationship. "During his last years, N.C. Wyeth accepted numerous calendar assignments. Those done for Hercules Incorporated and for John Morrell and Company were particularly notable; he also executed fine calendar paintings for New York Life Insurance and Brown & Bigelow, among others. His first Hercules Incorporated calendar painting, which was called The Three Hunters, appeared in 1933. Those made subsequently appeared as calendars, prints, and covers for the company publication The Hercules Mixer, each being completed in the year immediately prior to its use. Hence, the last one, which appeared on the 1946 calendar, may well have been one of his final works of commercial art, though the painting itself bears no date. In addition to the 1933 calendar, the other Hercules Incorporated calendars were: 1934 - The Seeker; 1935 - New Trails; 1938 - The Alchemist; 1939 - A New World; 1940 - The Pioneers; 1942 - Primal Chemistry; 1944 - Sweet Land of Liberty; 1946 - The Spirit of '46." (D. Allen and D. Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals, New York, 1972, p. 153)

A New World has all of the hallmarks of N.C. Wyeth's finest paintings, and demonstrates the superior quality of artistry for which he has always been best known. The young boy is hard at work with his chemistry set, discovering the new world of science. His eyes gleam with excitement and concentration as he carefully pours the contents of the test tube into the beaker. In this wonderful image, the boy represents the American spirit -- the curiosity, ingenuity, and industry -- that Wyeth celebrated in his paintings throughout his career.

This work is included in the N.C. Wyeth catalogue raisonné database that is being compiled by the Brandywine River Museum and Conservancy, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.



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