N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945)Reception to Washington on April 21, 1789, at Trenton on his way to New York to Assume the Duties of the Presidency of the United States1930Oil on canvas, 204 1/2 x 144 in. (519.4 x 365.7 cm)Wells Fargo Art Collection, on long term loan to Thomas Edison State CollegeTrenton, New Jersey
Reception to Washington on April 21, 1789, at Trenton on his way to New York to Assume the Duties of the Presidency of the United States
First Mechanics National Bank, Trenton, NJ; by mergers to present owner
mural for First Mechanics National Bank, Trenton, NJ
Eleanore Nolan Shuman, The Trenton Story (Trenton, NJ: MacCrellish & Quigley Co., 1958), illustration p. 72; Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N. C. Wyeth, The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals (New York: Crown Publishers, 1972), p. 163, illustration in b/w p. 167; William G. Ayres, ed., Picturing History / American Painting 1770-1930 (New York: Rizzoli, in association with Fraunces Tavern Museum, 1993), p. 174, illustration in color p. 172; Christine B. Podmaniczky, N. C. Wyeth, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings (London: Scala, 2008), M.44, p. 618, 619; David Berndt, Bayard Taylor Berndt: Brandywine Valley Artist (Alexandria, VA: Commonwealth Books, 2012), illus. p. 26;
The artist was notified that he had secured this commission on Dec. 3, 1927 (NCW to James Boyd, James Boyd Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and he began research for the decoration in February, 1928. He wrote, "I...have found one very attractive, and I should think appropriate subject. Washington's personal and triumphant entry into Trenton in 1788 (sic) on his way to N.Y. to be inaugurated" (NCW to Andrew Newell Wyeth, dated by the artist Feb. 14, by context and in another hand 1928, Wyeth Family Archives). Wyeth's primary source was an article published in the Columbian Magazine, April 25, 1789, which described in detail Washington's entrance into Trenton on April 21. The Brandywine River Museum holds the artist's hand-written notes summarizing the article and his typed synopsis. In Wyeth's studio library are several histories of Trenton published prior to this date, no doubt used as reference material.
Photographer Edward J. S. Seal took a number of photographs of Wyeth while the mural was still in the Chadds Ford studio (see BRM library 39309.1 and 39309.8, Edward J. S. Seal Collection, Gift of Barbara Lloyd, and Edward J. S. Seal photos in NCW archives.) In the Lloyd gift there is also an undated sepia-toned photograph of the mural
The mural was removed from its setting, lined, cleaned and varnished in 1993-1994 and returned to the original site.
In the Andrew Wyeth studio collection (AWS2010.525) is a copy of Washington. The Man of Action by Frederick Trevor Hill (D. Appleton & Co., 1914) with the inscription: "Brought from Trention, New Jersey, on the occasion of the placing of a wall painting in the First National Mechanics Bank The Subjet of which was Washington - Autumn of 1930 - presented to Andy at this time, Pa."
The painting was reproduced in black and white on a plate measuring 10 3/4 inches in diameter, manufactured by American Decorators, Inc. of Trenton, NJ, prior to 1977.
1. Digital photography directly from artwork; 2. N. C. Wyeth in his studio, from an archival photo in the collection of the Brandywine River Museum Library, Edward J. S. Seal Collection; 3. N. C. Wyeth in his studio, photo by Edward J. S. Seal, Wyeth Family Archives
1. Rick Echelmeyer, May 2006 2. Photograph by Edward J. S. Seal