Property of a Private New York Collector
N. C. WYETH
1882 - 1945
UNTITLED (THREE INDIANS AT A STREAM IN SNOWY WOODS)
oil on canvas
39 by 24 inches
(99.1 by 61 cm)
Painted in 1904.
The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes, Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work is still on its original stretcher. The tacking edges may be slightly compromised, and there is black tape around the edges at present. The canvas has relaxed quite noticeably. The painting may have been rolled at some point, and there are waves to the surface and restorations that are often associated with rolling. The restorations have discolored and are visible to the naked eye and ultraviolet light in many areas, particularly in the snow on the right side and along the bottom edge. The figures show only a few small restored losses, and the left side only shows a few retouches. There has been no abrasion and the texture of the paint layer is very attractive. Ideally, the work would be cleaned and the retouched replaced. It is recommended that the waves in the canvas be corrected, but the work could also be hung in its current state.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Stewart, Needham, Massachusetts
Mr. James Turbayne, Needham, Massachusetts
Sold: James R. Bakker Antiques, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 15, 1996, lot 102
Private collection, Cambridge, Massachusetts (acquired at the above sale)
Sold: Christie's, New York, December 2, 1998, lot 61
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale
Christine B. Podmaniczky, N.C. Wyeth: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, vol. I, London, 2008, no. I.42, p. 115, illustrated
In 1902, N.C. Wyeth traveled to Wilmington, Delaware to study under the renowned illustrator Howard Pyle. Pyle required his students to submit oil compositions for weekly criticism in class. The present work, which Wyeth described at the time as "the best thing I ever did," is one of these classroom submissions. He explained the genesis of this painting in a letter to his mother dated 1904:
"Friday night about five-thirty I went in Arthurs [sic] studio which was then vacant and layed down beside Schoonover's 'pack toboggan' which has just come. I fell to pipe dreaming when all of a sudden I perceived a vivid picture of three Indians in their pre-historic garb discussing and examining a fresh moose track in the ponderous depths of a Maine woods. It was so clear and distinct in my mind I did not think over five minutes as to how I should do it. I instantly made a wild dash for the supply store and took out the essential articles to produce a canvas 40" by 25"...7 a.m. found me slapping on paint at a great rate. I worked steady all Sat. [sic]...and at five in the afternoon had finished the best thing I ever did. I was surprised at myself at the good color which I did not realize I was obtaining...I think I'll pass it in as a composition. I will then get a deep crit. [sic] on it and possible make another for exhibition purposes" (Letter from N.C. Wyeth to Henriette Zirngiebel Wyeth, dated by NCW "6.30 Monday morning" and in another hand March 21, 1904, Wyeth Family Archives).