N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945)The Sea Calls You1917approximately 72 x 120 in. (182.8 x 304.7 cm)known by reproduction only
The Sea Calls You
Billboard design for Navy Recruiting office, Wilmington, Delaware
"Recruiting Posters Issued by the U. S. Navy Since the Declaration of War," U. S. Navy Recruiting Bureau, 1918, b/w illustration; Betsy James Wyeth, ed., The Wyeths, The Letters of N. C. Wyeth, 1901-1945 (Boston: Gambit, 1971), p. 548; Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N. C. Wyeth, The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals (New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1972), p. 289; Christine B. Podmaniczky, N. C. Wyeth, Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings (London: Scala, 2008), O.5, p. 834
In May, 1917, Wyeth wrote, "The publicity Department of the U. S. Navy has asked for work--it must be rushed to be of service....Today I completed a large mural poster, 6 x 10 feet, of the call of Neptune to protect the freedom of the seas. The canvas has at least the virtue of being compelling" (NCW to Henriette Zirngiebel Wyeth, May 3, 1917, Wyeth family Archives). His war work even attracted the attention of the local press, dateline Chadds Ford, PA, May 14, "N. C. Wyeth, the artist, is kept busy doing his own paintings and making signs for the government in interest of the Army and Navy" (Wilmington Morning News, May 15, 1917)
A similar sea creature appeared in Wyeth's 1915 painting for the Submarine Grill at the Traymore Hotel in Atlantic City (NCW 2406) and he would rework the image again in 1922 for a calendar illustration (NCW 1001).
image from printed source (Brandywine River Museum, N. C. Wyeth archives)
hardcover: Rick Echelmeyer, digital photography from printed source, 12/14/2006: "Recruiting Posters Issued by the U. S. Navy Since the Declaration of War," U. S. Navy Recruiting Bureau, 1918