N. C. Wyeth "The Magician and the Maid of Beauty"
Painted 1912 as a illustration for the book "The Sampo" by James Baldwin.
Wyeth was heavily influenced by his art school teacher, master book illustrator (and writer) Howard Pyle of Wilmington, Delaware. Wyeth later struggled to break away from the influences of illustration and to reach for something that would be acceptable as true "fine art." He had some limited success trying to gain the approval of the fine art critics and their establishment, but Wyeth's career in book illustration and advertising tainted him among the circles where he sought access.
Wyeth was stricken with a contradictory hatred for the craft he had learned and excelled at, even stating he wished he never learned from Pyle and never ventured into illustration at all. His son Andrew Wyeth (and grandson Jamie Wyeth) each made the leap into the realm of fine art, but Newell Convers Wyeth was locked into a kind of paralysis of expression by the demands of an illustrators creed he had devised in which an image was meant to be understood quickly with little effort on the part of the beholder. Wyeth admired the "regional art" efforts of painters like Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood and others that exemplified the American art scene by the 1930s, and their styles show impact onto Wyeth's later private efforts. A master technician with paint, N. C. Wyeth could do anything with it except find satisfaction.
N. C. Wyeth
Original Page Dec 2009