N. C. Wyeth: New Perspectives
February 8–May 3, 2020 | Fifth Third Gallery
This exhibition showcases the work of N. C. Wyeth (1882–1945), the patriarch of one of America’s most prominent artistic families. Co-organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, this exhibition brings together approximately 50 large-scale paintings. Spanning several decades, these works evolve from the American impressionist style of the 1910s to the regionalist realism of the 1930s and ’40s associated with artists such as Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood.
Many of Wyeth’s grand images bring to life stories in Treasure Island, The Last of the Mohicans, The Boy’s King Arthur, and Rip Van Winkle—books published as part of Charles Scribner’s Sons Illustrated Classics series that are still well-known today. Despite his fame as an illustrator, however, Wyeth deserves much greater appreciation for his little-known fine art paintings. Thus, New Perspectives revises his reputation by also highlighting his private work, which reveals Wyeth’s love of nature and the contemporary American scene. Together with his illustrations, these paintings bear witness to Wyeth’s passion for color, light, and narrative, and make a case for his inclusion as a major painter of the early 20th century.