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Sweet Land of Liberty
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Sweet Land of Liberty
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About the item

N.C. WYETH, Sweet Land of Liberty, Oil on panel
US
NY, US
US

notes

During World War II, several commercial agencies commissioned N.C. Wyeth to create images for calendars and advertisements. Many of these works incorporated patriotic imagery, such as the American flag, Uncle Sam, and fighting troops. Having grown up on a farm in Needham, Massachusetts, Wyeth’s patriotism not only found expression through historical motifs but in the land and soil as well. He felt most at peace in the quiet serenity of the rural countryside surrounding his Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania home. When he settled in Chadds Ford in 1908 he noted: “In me has revived a stronger and more vital interest and love for the life that lies about me. I am finding deeper pleasure, deeper meanings in the simple things in the country life here” (Allen and Allen, N.C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals, New York, 1972, p. 63).

Painted at the height of the war in 1943 and published as a calendar illustration for the Hercules Powder Company in 1944, the present work reflects Wyeth’s personal patriotic approach to commercial commissions, one tinged with nostalgia and rooted in the heartland. Before starting the painting, Wyeth wrote a letter to Theodore Marvin of the Hercules Powder Company describing his intentions for the work. He wrote “It will be early autumn, that witching period of September slipping into October. The effect will be the rich golden light of late afternoon – almost sun-down… The distant hills will be warm plum color and the sky a luminous ambient gold… The emotional and romantic elements, applying to each and every detail, will have a very universal appeal and will, I believe, represent to the great majority of the people from every section, the essence of what we are fighting to preserve – freedom, peace, and the home… P.S. I am unusually excited about this composition and know that I can do one of my best jobs on it.”

A copy of Wyeth’s original typed letter will accompany the lot.

medium

Oil on panel

exhibited

Wilmington, Delaware, Wilmington Savings Fund Society, Tribute to N.C. Wyeth, October-November 1968

literature

Hercules Powder Company, Annual Calendar, 1944, illustrated in color

Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals, New York, 1972, p.153, 284, 290

provenance

Hercules Powder Company

Gift to Chairman of the Board upon retirement

Gift from the above to the present owner


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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