From just four dollars to an approximate quarter of a million, an antique painting has been determined as by one of the master painters of the early 20th Century. N.C. Wyeth is responsible for some of the most dramatic and imaginative evocations that accompanied literature and stood on their own merit. With over 3000 paintings to his name, the prolific artist was an unending fountain of inspiration. Over 100 books were illustrated by him, and the works remain as poignant today as they were at the time. The most famous of his published works is probably Scribner’s Treasure Island, the proceeds from which funded his budding career.
Originally bought in 2017 for the fact it had a nice frame, the genuine Wyeth was taken home by an art enthusiast without an inkling of its provenance. However, in a moment of clarity, the new owner decided to do some research before assigning the unknown work to the wastepaper bin. Thankfully the sleuthing paid off and within a few weeks the painting had gained attention on social media from several art experts. Lauren Lewis, from Maine, was so intrigued by the painting that she dropped everything and went in person to the New Hampshire residence where it was being kept.
An expert with a career’s worth of experience with Wyeth paintings, Lauren Lewis was able to clarify that the work really is 99% a Wyeth. Clearly, unless we see the work created by the artist, there is always a little doubt. However, with replica works, one or two of the key elements of individuality can be copied however the whole range of talent and micro elements that build the artist’s personality are rarely imitated in one item. The painting in question is believed to be the missing illustration for Ramona from 1939. Due to be sold at auction in just a few days, the painting is valued around $250,000 and is already gaining lots of attention from collectors.
One for the tabletop: Great Illustrations by N. C. Wyeth (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)
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