N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945)Poems of American Patriotism, cover illustration (verso: half-length sketch of unidentified male)1922Oil on canvas, 40 1/2 x 28 1/2 in. (102.8 x 72.3 cm)Collection of the Hill School, Pottstown, PA
Poems of American Patriotism, cover illustration
Doughboy; Soldier with a Bayonet; Soldier with Bayonet
Oil on canvas
Lower right: W (with circle around it); on verso, study of a man's head and shoulders
The artist; purchased by Michael F. Sweeney for The Hill School, 1923
Greenville, SC, 1974, no. 64, as "Soldier with Bayonet"; Chadds Ford, PA, 1976(2), as "Soldier with a Bayonet"; Lititz, PA, 1991; Roanoke, VA, 1991; Philadelphia, PA, Union League of Philadelphia, "Artists of the Brandywine River Valley, 1850-1993," May 13 - June 30, 1993, no. 36;
Cover illustration, Brander Matthews, Poems of American Patriotism (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922);
Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N. C. Wyeth, The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals (New York: Crown Publishers, 1972), p. 212; "Sweeney's Legacy," Hill (The Hill School Bulletin), Sept. 1980, illus. p. 17; Tom Brokaw, et al, One Nation, Patriots and Pirates Portrayed by N. C. Wyeth and James Wyeth (Boston: Bulfinch Press, Little, Brown and Co., 2000), illus. fig. 30 on p. 31; Christine B. Podmaniczky, N. C. Wyeth, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings (London: Scala, 2008), I.895, p. 434
Pentimenti on this painting show that Wyeth originally painted text blocks at the top and bottom of the image, just as it was reproduced as a cover illustration. He must have reworked the image after it was published, painting in the arched top and solid bottom to make the painting more attractive as a wall piece. On the reverse of the canvas is a fully executed drawing of a male head; Betsy James Wyeth has suggested the sitter may have been Stimson Wyeth or Anton Kamp. The Archives of American Art holds a rough sketch for the cover design (Charles Scribner's Sons Art Reference Dept. records, 1839-1962, digital image # 7904).
The unillustrated edition of Poems of American Patriotism that the artist read and annotated in preparation for this commission is in the collection of the Brandywine River Museum (NCWS.95.157). The artist's reaction to the Hill School purchase is expressed in a letter to Arthur L. Bailey, librarian of the Wilmington Institute Library, "At present, I am sitting on top of the world!" (NCW to ALB, May 14, 1923, Wilmington Institute Library).
1. Transparency directly from painting; 2. drawing on reverse of canvas; 3. cover design as published; 4. rough sketch for cover design, Archives of American Art, Charles Scribner's Sons Art Reference Dept. records, 1839-1962, digital image # 7904).
1. Rick Echelmeyer, 4/1999; 2. Echelmeyer, 4/1999; 3. BRM staff; 4. Archives of American Art