N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945)Study for Wyeth Family muralca. 1927Oil on canvas, 23 x 40 in. (58.4 x 101.6 cm)Brandywine River MuseumBequest of Carolyn Wyeth, 1996
Study for Wyeth Family mural
Oil on canvas
adhered to reverse of canvas, partial label: Everybody's Magazine--Art Dep / (in pencil along bottom of label) . . . the side where . . . is cut
The artist; Mrs. N. C. Wyeth; Carolyn Wyeth
Chadds Ford, PA, 2005
study for family mural, probably intended for south wall in living room, ca. 1927
Joyce Hill Stoner, "Discovering Hidden Wyeths," Winterthur Magazine (Spring 2000), illustration in color, p. 25; George Lowery, "N. C. Wyeth's Coloring Technique...," July 19, 2007, CornellonLine, http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July07/chessWyethAnalysis.html; Jennifer Mass, "Discovery to Recovery: A Lost Illustration by N. C. Wyeth," Catalyst (pub. of Brandywine River Museum), vol. 35, no. 4 (November 2007), p. 7; Jennifer Mass, et al., "Confocal XRF and XRF Intensity Mapping of Paintings: Characterizing and Imaging a Lost N. C. Wyeth," presented at the 57th Annual Conference on Applications of X-Ray Analysis, Denver, CO, Aug. 4-8, 2008; Christine B. Podmaniczky, N. C. Wyeth, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings (London: Scala, 2008), M.41, p. 617; Jennifer Mass, "Confocal XRF and XRF Intensity Mapping: Imaging a Lost N. C. Wyeth," presented to American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, Aug. 19, 2009; Tom Avril, "X-ray techs give us back a Wyeth," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 20, 2009, pgs. 1 and A10; unattrib., "X-Rays Expose Artwork," Current Science (Weekly Reader), vol. 95, no.8 (Dec. 11, 2009), ps 12-13
Wyeth painted this study for a family mural over a canvas he had used previously for an illustration (see NCW 357). The study was prepared for transfer as shown by the small tacks at equal intervals around the perimeter with remnants of the string which created a grid over the image.
The idea of a mural for the family home first appeared in a letter Wyeth wrote to Walter S. Brown, an architect in Wilmington, Del., on April 16, 1923. In regard to Brown's proposed renovations to the living room, Wyeth directed: "Leave only the one mural panel and that on the south wall as you have indicated." In an unpublished letter to his father dated Jan. 23, 1928 (Wyeth Family Archives), the artist wrote, "I have started to draw in the Family portrait group (Life Size) and hope to carry it along slowly with my other work...," however the image was never completed. The figures left to right are: Henriette, N. C., Carolyn Bockius Wyeth, Ann, Nathaniel, Carolyn Wyeth, and Andrew.
From 2007 to 2009, the canvas was studied by a group of conservators and technicians at Cornell University, led by Winterthur conservation scientist Jennifer Mass, who used confocal X-ray flourescence to map the paint pigments of the under image (see NCW 357).