Civil War Art – N. C. Wyeth

19 01 2009

As so many folks have stopped by here recently looking for N. C. Wyeth artwork, I thought I’d post this little gallery.  I’ll add to it as I find more.  It’s hard not to wax nostalgic when I see these.  Like many of you, I spent a good deal of time in my youth staring at Wyeth’s illustrations in Treasure Island and Kidnapped!  Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

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23 responses

20 01 2009
cenantua

Harry, I had no idea that he did most of these. I knew about the Jackson print and the one that you mentioned in an earlier post (fourth from the right above), but I had no idea about the rest. That one that is second from the right looks quite nice. -Robert

20 01 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Robert,

There are more, but I haven’t found good copies on line yet. The second one from the left above is called “The Vidette”, and the second from the right is “The Bloody Angle”. Note the resemblance of the man in the foreground to the guy in the North Carolina monument at Gettysburg?

Wyeth illustrated at least two Civil War novels, “The Long Roll” and “Cease Firing”. I’ll keep looking for other images and will update this post as I find them.

20 01 2009
historythruthelookingglass

My favorites have always been the “Robin Hood” shots — he defined how I imagined those characters early in life!!

Take care,
Aly

20 01 2009
Harry Smeltzer

The one I remember is the Merry Men holding Robin up in his sickbed so he can shoot an arrow out of the window. Recreated nicely in the Sean Connery flick “Robin and Marian”. That Audrey Hepburn was one classy broad.

20 01 2009
caswain01

Uncle Billy’s portrait is the best of the lot IMO.

20 01 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Craig,

Cump looks loaded for bear, don’t he?

21 01 2009
cenantua

I’m still trying to figure out what mountain Jackson is on in the print. Considering the level of the cloud behind him, I’m convinced he somehow flanked Pa., N.Y. and New England and was poised to strike toward Boston from Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. However, I’ve yet to see a postcard showing Sorrel with a “I climbed Mt. Washington” sticker slapped on the rump.

22 01 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Robert,

Are you thinking something from the Hudson Valley school? Is that William Cullen Bryant on a rocky crag in the background?

22 01 2009
cenantua

Harry,

Egad! I didn’t think of it that way, but, by George, you may be on to something else here! Hold on, let me get my quilting magnifying glass… perhaps that is Bryant back there!

22 01 2009
Harry Smeltzer

I’m no art historian, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last week – and more important, I just read a bit on Bryant and Thomas Cole and the Asher Durand painting Kindred Spirits in “Throes of Democracy”, which at this pace I’ll be reading for the rest of the year. It’s a case of the author being way, way smarter than the reader. I run into that a lot. But it’s a great book for a thread puller like me!

22 01 2009
cenantua

Darn that Holiday Inn Express! People keep bringing it up and I keep realizing I paid too much for my education when I could have just gone to a HIE to save a great deal!

29 09 2009
Darrell Combs

Excellent site. Respectful comments by all concerned and some thought provoking ones as well. Thanks for the effort and discussion of illustrative art.

It would have been fun to see what Civil War artists who sketched in the field could have done with oils after the war.

29 09 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Darrell,

See Winslow Homer.

Harry

9 04 2010
Darrell Combs

Harry

Was actually thinking of Waugh etc. Their sketches formed the basis for a lot of great engraving/line art….not so much in Oils on canvass though…….did a bit of combat art myself during my days in Beirut, Lebanon as a Marine.

Regards,

DLC

3 11 2009
Three Years Blogging « Bull Runnings

[...] post written this year has been Civil War Art – Howard Pyle with 711, followed closely by Civil War Art – N. C. Wyeth with 686.  Seems like a [...]

7 11 2009
Chris Evans

I never knew about some of these other Civil War works by Wyeth. I really like the battle scenes and the one with Sherman is excellent also. I have never seen that before.
Thanks for posting these,
Chris

1 12 2009
Caroline Hartman

Harry,

I just discovered that Wyeth did Civil War art. Is the one on the far right a protrait of Phil Sheridan? Someone mentioned Sherman, but Sherman was red-haired and always looked disheveled. If those are stars on his shoulder straps, I’m pretty sure that’s Major General Phil Sheridan, who commanded the Army of the Shenandoah. In October ’64, after he made his famous ride (poem written about it) on Reinuzi, he he was made a Regular Army Major General.

Do you know when that painting was painted? I would like to use for the background on a book jacket. Is that possible? I would appreciate hearing from you.

Caroline Hartman

610-269-0199

2 12 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Caroline,

That’s Sherman. While he did have red hair, note he is wearing a hat. And while his hair was usually disheveled (as was that of most serious folks of the age), he was actually a pretty snappy dresser, favoring spotless white vests. On campaign he wore low key togs, but was always ramrod straight and neat. Also note the figure’s slim build. Sheridan, as you know, was short, stumpy, and ugly. Really ugly.

“Sherman” was completed in 1922. See here: http://brandywine.doetech.net/Detlobjps.cfm?ObjectID=1532188&rec_num=1&From=obj_key.cfm

Brandywine owns the rights to Wyeth’s work – check out their site here: http://www.ncwyeth.org/

11 12 2009
Chris Evans

I just happened today to pick up a wonderful book entitled ‘One Nation: Patriots and Pirates Portrayed by N. C. Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth”. I recommend it highly as it has nice reproductions of all of the Civil War paintings by Wyeth shown here plus even more and some really great paintings by Wyeth of the American Revolution. It is a nice coffee table type of book with excellent artwork contained inside.
Chris

11 12 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks, Chris. I’ll keep an eye out.

2 07 2010
Bob Booker

Great paintings. The first one on the left is “The Bloody Angle” an illustration of the battle of Spotsylvania 1864. I like it because NC used the same model over and over on both sides suggesting brother against brother and it’s very hard to tell which side is which because they are all American.

The second from the left is “The Vidette” and the fourth is “The Battle”. I’ve seen them both in a private collection. My great-grandfather was in the battle which depicts action at Gaines Mills in the Seven Days.

The central painting which along with the privious 2 make up the three illustrations for Mary Johnston’s “The Long Roll” hangs in the superintendent’s office at VMI in Lexington, Virginia.

13 08 2010
The Fog of War | 13TH MISSISSIPPI INFANTRY REGIMENT

[...] Via Bull Runnings. [...]

23 08 2012
Interpreting Spotsylvania’s Bloody Angle: a Old Collaboration and a New Blog « Mysteries and Conundrums

[...] thanks to Harry Smeltzer for one of the few recent, online historical discussions, on his blog Bull Runnings, of Wyeth’s Civil War pictures, and for linking to the thumbnailed catalog of [...]

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