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Captain George Waymouth on the Georges River
signed 'N.C. Wyeth' (lower left)
oil on panel
32 1/4 x 25 in. (82 x 63.5 cm.)
Painted in 1937.
Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945)
Portland, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Paintings by N.C. Wyeth Used to Illustrate Kenneth Roberts' New Book "Trending Into Maine," July 25-30, 1938.
New York, Knoedler Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by N.C. Wyeth: 1882-1945, October 29-November 23, 1957, no. 102 (as Captain Waymouth in the Mouth of the George River).
Lubbock, Texas, The Museum, 1959, no. 33.
Rockland, Maine, William A. Farnsworth Art Museum, An Exhibition of Paintings from The World of N.C. Wyeth, July 20-September 4, 1966, no. 67.
Lewiston, Maine, Olin Arts Center, Treat Gallery, Bates College, Newell Convers Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, James Wyeth, December 2, 1973-January 20, 1974.
Rockland, Maine, William A. Farnsworth Art Museum, N.C. Wyeth in Maine: A Centenary Exhibition, 1982.
Maine Sunday Telegram, December 9, 1973, illustrated.
D. Allen and D. Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals, New York, 1972, pp. 216, 281.
C.B. Podmaniczky, N.C. Wyeth in Maine: A Centenary Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Lewiston, Maine, 1982, pp. 7, 9, illustrated.
Mrs. N.C. Wyeth.
Depositors Trust Company, Augusta, Maine, circa 1972.
With Judy Goffman, New York, by 1981.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
The present work was a frontispiece illustration for Kenneth Roberts' 1938 publication, Trending into Maine. N.C. Wyeth executed fourteen works for the book which detailed the history of Maine.
On an exploration mission for English settlement in the spring of 1605, Captain George Waymouth found his way to Penobscot Bay, Maine. Records indicate that Waymouth's group stopped first at Monhegan Island and then Allen Island, where an experimental garden was established, the first known agricultural attempt by the English in North America. The voyage up the St. George River that Waymouth and his men completed in 1605 resulted in several settlements over the following centuries. Small colonies emerged on both sides of the river and a significant land rush occurred after the American Revolution. During the War of 1812, the British discreetly rowed the St. George River and captured the fort protecting the rapidly expanding commerce towns Thomaston and Warren.
In the present painting, Captain George Waymouth on the Georges River, N.C. Wyeth combines his experience as an illustrator of early American scenes with his love of natural landscape. Skillfully composed with a dramatic perspective, Wyeth has majestically depicted Waymouth and his team on a scouting trip as they row away from their moored vessel, Archangel. The characters rendered are quintessential Wyeth figures: strong and heroic, purposefully setting off into the wilderness. The scene is unified by Wyeth's bold style; "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 look 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." (D. Allen and D. Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth, New York, 1972, p. 11)
In reference to the Trending Into Maine commission, Wyeth writes in a letter dated November 12, 1937 to his daughter, Henriette: "The days are full to overflowing and work is exciting. The string of ten or twelve gesso panels for Ginn & Company and for the Maine book done since you left are, I firmly believe, my tops in illustrative painting. It has been intense work and I'm driving myself to the limit--but I'm thriving on it." (B.J. Wyeth, ed., The Wyeths: The Letters of N.C. Wyeth, 1901-1945, Boston, Massachusetts, 1971, p. 769)
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.
New York, NY, US