N.C. Wyeth great illustrations || ed Jeff A Menges

The sense of drama in the work of Newall Convers Wyeth is best summed up by the caption, “Nearest to the rough pine box stood the widow, with lowered eyes” because, the thing is, you don’t need the caption if you have the picture in front of you. The scene, in fact much of the plot of the story, is all there in what is, in its own small way, a little masterpiece. This one is a western, but Wyeth was also capable of turning his hand to The Boy’s King Arthur, Robinson Crusoe or Kidnapped and of combining romance and heroism in a single picture.

As examples of simple, narrative painting, this collection can actually teach more than an instruction manual. As it is, we get a good representative selection of the artist’s work, a biographical introduction and an article Wyeth wrote about the work of the illustrator for Scribner’s Magazine in 1919.

The style is very much of its time, but the craft remains timeless and the book is a delight.

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