Farnsworth Art Museum

Rockland, ME



One Nation: Patriots and Pirates Portrayed by N.C. Wyeth and James Wyeth


History, Politics and Art collide in a new exhibition of the works of renowned illustrator patriarch N.C. Wyeth and his grandson, James Wycth, opening August 12, 2000 at the Farnsworth Art Museum.

Entitled "One Nation: Patriots and Pirates Portrayed by N.C. Wyeth and James Wyeth," the exhibition could be described as a socio-political reflection of the past century. This exhibition, sponsored by MBNA America, will travel to five other venues across the country until early 2002. (left: N.C. Wyeth, Buy War Bonds, 1942, Illustration for poster by the U.S. Government Printing Office, 1942, reproduction, 39 3/4 x 29 3/4 inches, From the Collection of Alan C. Wasserman)

"We are exceedingly proud to assemble this remarkable body of work by two generations of Wyeths, and to share it with the nation as it chooses the next President," said Chris Crosman, director of the Farnsworth Art Museum. "These works show the artistic and political juxtaposition of grandfather and grandson and reveal how much has changed in America in less than a century," he added.

One Nation will bring together approximately 80 drawings and paintings that challenge viewers to find their own definitions of "patriot" and "pirate," primarily in the political arena. The collected works of these two artists, a generation apart, will also chronicle the changing attitude of the nation regarding "patriotism" from the beginning of the century to the present. Surrounding the inaugural celebration, the exhibition will be on display January 14-21, 2001 in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington D.C. From there it will travel to the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut, the Brandywine River Museum in Pennsylvania and the Ringling Museum of Art in Florida before ending the tour at a west coast venue. (left: N.C. Wyeth, Soldiers of the Soil, 1942, Illustration for Brown and Bigelow calendar, 1943, oil on canvas, 46 x 35 inches, Courtesy of the Bank One Art Collection)

Newell Convers Wyeth, whose work has been traditionally viewed as quintessentially "American" was called upon to create propaganda posters for the U.S. Government depicting Uncle Sam and the brave fighting troops during World War I and World War II. He also illustrated books such as "Poems of American Patriotism", "Cease Firing" and "The Long Roll" depicting historical figures such as Paul Revere and George Washington and Stonewall Jackson in a glorified, idealized light. (left: N.C. Wyeth, The Unknown Soldier, 1922, oil on canvas, 46 x 35 inches, From thee Hill School Collection, Pottstown PA)

James Wyeth came of age when the attitudes of the nation were defined by the Vietnam War and Watergate. One of his best-known portraits, "Draft Age" depicts a boy of eighteen in a black leather jacket and dark sunglasses, the picture of defiant youth during the Vietnam era. James went on to paint a posthumous, but defining portrait of President John F. Kennedy, apparently in a moment of indecision. Robert Kennedy said it made him think of the way his brother had looked during the Bay of Pigs invasion. During the 1974 Watergate trials and Congressional hearings, James was present as a commissioned artist for "Harper's Magazine," recording the events as they unfolded.

The Farnsworth will present a lecture series to accompany the show including Hugh Sidey, former White House correspondent for "Time Magazine," and Chris Crosman, director of the Farnsworth Art Museum. A richly illustrated catalog will be available, with essays by Tom Brokaw, anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" and best-selling author of "The Greatest Generation" and "The Greatest Generation Speaks." David Michaelis, author of "N.C. Wyeth: A Biography," and Lauren Raye Smith, Wyeth Center Curator. (left: James Wyeth, Islanders, 1990, oil on panel, 30 x 40 inches, Private Collection)

Read more about the Farnsworth Art Museum.in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

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