Artist: N. C. (Newell Convers) Wyeth (1882-1945)
Title: N. C. Wyeth / Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings (two volumes)
Key Contributors: by Christine B. Podmaniczky; with essay by Joyce Hill Stoner
Publisher: Wyeth Foundation for American Art, Brandywine River Museum of Art in conjunction with Scala Publishers, Ltd.
Published Date: 2008
Organized by/Supported by: Organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art; supported by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art
Works covered: 1,928 paintings
Years covered: Oct. 1902 – Oct. 1945
CRSA: How is the N. C. Wyeth Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings organized?
Christine Podmaniczky: The catalogue is divided into sections—Illustration, Murals and Architectural Decoration, Commercial Work, Landscapes, Still Life, Portraiture and Private Paintings and Other Work. Within these distinctions, the paintings are presented chronologically. The actual pages are three columns wide, and painting reproductions span one or two columns or take a complete page.
The catalogue opens with an extensive historical essay and an essay on Wyeth’s working methods from the viewpoint of a conservator. Back matter includes a bibliography, time line, and exhibition history.
CRSA: How how much time was dedicated to research?
CP: Research and organization for the printed version were completed over a period of 18 years. Beginning in 1990, the project was conducted by a half-time staff member of the Brandywine River Museum of Art; after 1999, the project included a full time staff member and a part time assistant. Since the publication of the hardcover version in the 2008, the BRMA has supported regular updates to the on-line version.
CRSA: Looking back, what was the project’s most valuable resource?
CP: To our knowledge, N. C. Wyeth did not keep daybooks or other records of his work. Therefore, his correspondence turned out to be the most crucial resource for the project. N. C. Wyeth was an avid letter writer, and his letters to his family (preserved by the family) were valuable for descriptions of the paintings on which he worked and for accounts of the original disposition of paintings. Also valuable in establishing provenance were collections of secondary correspondence, such as letters from owners written to the Wyeth family after N. C. Wyeth’s death and letters written to the Brandywine River Museum from 1970 on.
CRSA: Are there other categories of Wyeth’s work not covered in this CR?
CP: There are entries for approximately 800 drawings in the on-line version of the N. C. Wyeth catalogue raisonné. No further volumes are being considered.
CRSA: How does the online N. C. Wyeth Catalogue Raisonné differ from the print edition?
CP: The on-line version of the catalogue raisonné can accommodate far more information than the printed edition, and on-line entries are usually more detailed than those in the printed edition. For example, additional images can be attached to the on-line entries, making it possible to illustrate both an original and altered appearance, a problem in conservation or a view of an installation that is no longer current. On-line entries might also contain relevant quotations from letters, source material, or other archival matter.
CRSA: Is your research ongoing?
CP: N. C. Wyeth’s work is a particular focus of the Brandywine River Museum of Art, and ongoing research for various projects inevitably reveals new material related to the artist’s career. When relevant, such information is incorporated into the on-line catalogue raisonné. In the past the museum has supported a review committee to consider additions to the catalogue; that process is suspended at this time while the submission forms and procedures are evaluated.