Lot 67
  • 67

N. C. Wyeth 1882 - 1945

Estimate
250,000 - 350,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • N. C. Wyeth
  • Waite Seized Him and Swung Him on High Amid a Volley of Terrified Oaths and Then Dashed Him Down and Away (Bar-room Brawl)
  • signed Convers Wyeth and inscribed indistinctly to Daniel McLaughlin / From ... Chadds Ford, Pa. / 1923, u.l.
  • oil on canvas

Provenance

Daniel McLaughlin, 1923
Kennedy Galleries, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1964

Literature

Ceylon Hollingsworth, "Punderson Waite," Collier's Weekly 56, no. 16, January 1, 1916, illustrated p. 10
Les Beitz, "N.C. Wyeth, Painter of Men ... in Action!," True West 15, no. 2, November-December 1967, illustrated p. 21 (as Bar-room Brawl)
Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen Jr., N.C. Wyeth, The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals, New York, 1972, pp. 256, 279
Christine B. Podmaniczky, N.C. Wyeth: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, vol. I, London, 2008, no. I. 580 (681), p. 311, illustrated in color p. 310

Catalogue Note

In 1916, N.C. Wyeth illustrated Ceylon Hollingsworth's story "Punderson Waite," which recounts the tale of a burly prospector, who heads west to Colorado during the gold rush of the early 1900s.  By the year Hollingsworth's story was published, Wyeth had become a sought-after illustrator, having gained national recognition from his illustrations for Scribner's Classics, most notably Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.  Wyeth's illustrations were immensely popular in part due to his ability to create a dynamic and active narrative which imaginatively visualized, rather than simply represented, the accompanying text.  As Wyeth scholar Christine Podmaniczky notes, "[Wyeth] felt that a mere recreation of the drama that the author had already described would be a disservice to the text and the reader ... to him, the illustrator's contribution was to provide additional insight and richness to the story" (N.C. Wyeth: Catalogue Raisonné, 2008, p. 27).

Hollingsworth's character Punderson Waite settled in a rough Rocky Mountain town in Gilpin County with crude buildings, ill-mannered men and few women.  Wyeth illustrates the story's climactic confrontation between Waite, dressed in a blue work shirt and brown pants, and the men whose properties he has claim-jumped: "Having no time to draw a gun, [Stocks] struck out at Waite blindly, instinctively.  He might as well have struck a tree. Without a sound Waite seized him by the shoulder—neck—somewhere near the top and by the belt, and swung him on high amid a volley of terrified oaths, swung him up like a straw dummy and then dashed him down and away with a force that paralyzed every eye.... After the first few moments no one thought of opposing him" ("Punderson Waite," Collier's Weekly, January 1916, p. 22).  Wyeth immerses the viewer in the melee by placing the subjects of the scene in the foreground of a shallow stage-like space that intensifies the already dramatic event.  Waite's large and imposing figure is the driving force behind the action on Wyeth's canvas, leaving bodies strewn on the ground while onlookers cower in the background.

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