N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945)The Last of the Mohicans, cover illustration1919Oil on canvas, 26 x 31 3/4 in. (66 x 80.6 cm)Brandywine River Museumof ArtAnonymous gift, 1981
The Last of the Mohicans, cover illustration
Oil on canvas
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, NY, to at least June, 1946 (but with Mannados Bookshop, New York, NY, Feb. 1941); Clifton Waller Barrett, Charlottesville, VA, ?-1970 (and with Knoedler Galleries, New York, 1968-1970); Private collection, Greenville, DE, 1970-1981
Cover illustration in color, James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans / A Narrative of 1757 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1919)
Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N. C. Wyeth, The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals (New York: Crown Publishers, 1972), p. 201; Brandywine River Museum, Catalogue of the Collection, 1969-1989 (Chadds Ford, PA: Brandywine Conservancy, 1991), p. 210; National Endowment for the Humanities, Picturing America project, 2008 (http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/); Christine B. Podmaniczky, N. C. Wyeth, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings (London: Scala, 2008), I.746, p. 380-381
In preparation for this commission, the artist read and marked an edition published by A. L. Burt (Brandywine River Museum, NCWS.95.4334). Wyeth visited Glens Falls, and in addition to photographs he took of the locale, he also may have used stereoption cards as image resources. Six cards depicting scenery in Glens Falls were found in his studio.
Originally this painting was of the same size (roughly 40 x 32 inches) and vertical orientation as other paintings from Last of the Mohicans. Canvas wrapped around the edges of the present stretcher shows the orange margin that borders the printed image, proof that the painting was restretched at one time. Archival material verifies that the painting was one third again as high. In a letter to Scribner's art director Joseph Chapin (dated "Chadds Ford / Sunday-", Archives of Charles Scribner's Sons, Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library), Wyeth referred to "the gold panel," clearly a reference to the title block. He reminded Chapin that the same gold had been used around the figure on the King Arthur title page, a comment that provides archival evidence as to the appearance of the now missing title block.