N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945)untitled calendar illustration, Winchester Repeating Arms Company1910 / 1911Oil on canvas, 47 1/8 x 38 in. (119.6 x 96.5 cm)Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WyomingGift of Olin Corporation, Winchester Arms Collection, 25.88
untitled (calendar illustration for Winchester Repeating Arms Company)
The Bear Hunters; Hunting the Grizzly
Oil on canvas
Lower right: N C WYETH (underlined)
1910 / 1911
Winchester Repeating Arms Company; by corporate merger to Olin Corporation to 1988
Cody, WY, 1980, p. 57, illustration in b/w p. 34 plate 15, as "Untitled"
illustration for 1912 calendar, copyright 1912, Winchester Repeating Arms Co., New Haven, CT (image 16 3/4 x 13 5/8", Brandywine River Museum library collection #4472a); used as advertising hanger with following legend across top: Winchester / W / World Standard Repeating / High Power Rifles and / Ammunition; in lower left: Ketterlinus: Philada. & Boston (33 7/8 x 16 7/8 in., BRM library collection #4472b); also issued as a print, with legend lower left of image: COPYRIGHT BY WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO.; below image: WINCHESTER
Argosy Magazine, vol. 354, no. 2 (Feb. 1962), color cover illus.; Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N. C. Wyeth, The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals (New York: Crown Publishers, 1972), p. 292, illus. b/w p. 144; Zack Taylor, "The Outdoor Illustrations of N. C. Wyeth," Sports Afield, vol. 183, no. 6 (June 1980), color illus. p. 75; Bob Strauss, Beverly Strauss, American Sporting Advertising, Vol. I, Posters and Calendars (Jefferson, ME: Circus Promotions Corp., 1987), WR-16, WR-50; John Delph, Firearms & Tackle Memorabilia, A Collector's Guide (West Chester, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 1991), p. 91; Tom Webster, Winchester Rarities (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2000), p. 17; p. Christine B. Podmaniczky, N. C. Wyeth, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings (London: Scala, 2008), C.15, p. 642
The following passage, combined with the date of the calendar, is the authority for the dating of the work: "This evening I put the last touches on the "Man and Bear" picture. It turned out particularly well and I feel sure will be well liked" (NCW to Henriette Zirngiebel Wyeth, dated by NCW "Tuesday night, I hope your trip home was..." and in another hand Oct. 19, 1910, Wyeth Family Archives). In 1986, a conservation examination at the Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Arts revealed the moon beneath underpaint that was subsequently removed. Neither the 1912 calendar image nor the Winchester hanger reproduction, however, show that aspect of the design and it is unlikely that Wyeth would have made the mistake of depicting strong light sources from opposite directions.
The Allen book identifies the foreground figure as Theodore Roosevelt, but the identification is based on resemblance only (Douglas Allen, Jr. to Christine Podmaniczky, Aug. 20, 2001, Brandywine River Museum catalogue raisonne files).
The image may have been issued as a western print reproduced by the Forbes Litho Company. In January, 1912, Wyeth directed his father to ask a local merchant to get a print "of the Men and Grizzly Bear " picture recently reproduced by Forbes. Wyeth continued, "The finest reproduction I ever got! and one of my best examples of western subject pictures" (NCW to Andrew Newell Wyeth, "Dear Papa, Last evening Henriette was repeating..." and in another hand Jan. 9, 1912, Wyeth Family Archives).