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Indepth Arts News:

"N.C. Wyeth: Precious Time"
2000-06-21 until 2000-10-15
Portland Museum of Art
Portland, ME, USA

The dramatic and captivating images that N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945) created during his lifetime established him as Americas premier illustrator. Far less well-known to the public, but of equal or even greater importance to Wyeth himself, were his private paintings--works that reveal his lifelong reverence for nature. N. C. Wyeth: Precious Time will feature more than 50 works spanning Wyeths career through a variety of artistic styles including Realism, Impressionism, Post-impressionism, and Romanticism.

This is the first time that many of these paintings will be shown in Maine, said Museum Director and exhibition curator Daniel E. OLeary. The exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity for the public to see N. C. Wyeths easel paintings and experience his purely personal artistic values.

N. C. Wyeth: Precious Time features the artists earliest paintings beginning in 1902 until his tragic death in October 1945. The exhibition includes 14 of the artists strongest paintings for publication, including dramatic scenes from Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Westward Ho! The exhibition then looks at Wyeths personal creations: landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and seascapes. It was through these latter expressions that he felt he could best grow and develop a voice as an artist. The contrasts between these two styles of work illustrate his search for a mode of visual expression and an explore the contrast between his commissioned artworks and his purely artistic ventures.

Wyeths dilemma in life was that his extraordinary success as an illustrator meant that he was constantly sought by publishers and editors, leaving little time to pursue his foremost desire to paint landscapes and seascapes which captured the sublimity and emotion in nature which he so admired.

Wyeth made a personal commitment to create artworks that were important to him. His private paintings allowed him to explore a variety of styles, techniques, and subject matter. A majority of these works contemplated the landscape and people around him in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and the town and surrounding islands near the familys summer home in Port Clyde, Maine, which N. C. co-purchased in 1920. The coast of Maine became his primary source of inspiration towards the latter part of his life.

Collectively, the works from Precious Time represent Wyeths ardent efforts to capitalize wisely and fully upon what he perceived as his most valuable resource: the precious time when he could live entirely as an artist.

N.C. Wyeth,
Black Spruce,
42 x 52 inches,
Collection of Linda Bean Folkers.

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