221
221

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF HACHETTE BOOK GROUP

N.C. Wyeth
THE HURRICANE
Estimate
70,00090,000
JUMP TO LOT
221

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF HACHETTE BOOK GROUP

N.C. Wyeth
THE HURRICANE
Estimate
70,00090,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

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New York

N.C. Wyeth
1882 - 1945
THE HURRICANE
signed N.C. Wyeth (lower right) and titled The Hurricane (upper right)
oil on canvas
38 1/8 by 32 3/8 inches
(96.8 by 82.2 cm)
Painted in 1935.
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Provenance

Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Massachusetts (commissioned from the artist)

Literature

Charles Nordhoff and James Hall, The Hurricane, Boston, Massachusetts, 1936, illustrated on the dust jacket
Percy Hutchison, "A South Sea Island Story by Nordhoff and Hall," The New York Times, February 9, 1936, illustrated
Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals, New York, 1972, p. 225
Christine B. Podmaniczky, N.C. Wyeth: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, 2008, vol. II, no. 1202, p. 546, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

N.C. Wyeth executed The Hurricane in 1935, as the "golden age of illustration" drew to a close. By this time, Wyeth had established himself as one of most prominent  American illustrators, after studying at Howard Pyle’s eponymous art school and selling his first drawing to The Saturday Evening Post in 1903. He gained further national recognition when he received a commission from Charles Scribner & Sons to illustrate Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island in 1911. Wyeth’s career continued to flourish until his death in 1945, by which time he had created nearly 4,000 illustrations for books and magazines.

Little, Brown & Company commissioned the present painting for the dust jacket of Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall’s novel The Hurricane, a sympathetic tale of life on a Polynesian island as seen through the eyes of Dr. Kersaint, a French medic. The authors detail the brutality of the island’s malevolent French colonial ruler, who controls all aspects of life except the forces of nature. In this work, Wyeth captures the dramatic moment when a hurricane wreaks havoc on the island, the scene for which the novel is named.

The artist wrote that, “Convincing illustration must ring true to life. The characters should be of flesh and blood, not puppets who strike attitudes for the sake of composition, or manikins which serve as drapes for clothes, however effective the costumes in themselves may be” (Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals, New York, 1972, p. 128).  In The Hurricane Wyeth achieves exactly this, capturing the human emotion of the moment and bringing the palpable tension of the storm to life. He frames the scene with curving tree branches, which simultaneously draw attention to the center of the composition and allude to the undeniable power of nature, a theme that is present throughout the novel.

American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

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New York