Day #56: N.C. Wyeth

In my early teens, I chanced upon a copy of Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by N.C. Wyeth, when I was rummaging through the shelves of an antiques shop. I was immediately besotted with the illustrations. I purchased the book, went to the library to discover what I could about Mr. Wyeth, learned that he was a student of Howard Pyle’s (another artist I admire), and I was hooked. I have continued to learn everything about him and the family of artists he created.

“Nathan Hale,” by N.C. Wyeth

In The New York Times, Adam Gopnik writes, “But in fact his genius lay in making his pictures much less dramatic than pictures like this had ever been before—his gift was for slowing down and sobering up book illustration so that it took on some of the gravity that had in the past belonged only to high art.”

In the same article, Gopnik quotes, “In 1908, after even more commercial success as a cowpunching illustrator of westerns, he retreated into a house on a hill overlooking Chadds Ford and announced that ‘painting and illustration cannot be mixed—one cannot merge from one into the other.”’ Intrigued, I set about learning as much as I could about illustration. My forward path was paving itself before me.

I am grateful for the lasting fascination sparked by the illustrations and paintings of N.C. Wyeth.

Day #31: Al Hirschfeld

I am endlessly fascinated by the creative mind and art of Al Hirschfeld, who crafted images of Broadway and other entertainment throughout his life, 1903-2003. His subject matter, his hidden Ninas, his perceptions … I am grateful he shared his talent with us. If you live near NYC, there is an exhibition of his work at New York City Center through March 3, 2019. This image is Patrick Stewart in “A Christmas Carol” from 1994.

View more of Hirschfeld’s art at The Al Hirschfeld Foundation.