With an illustration and painting career that span from 1901 to 1945, N.C Wyeth gained a reputation as an artist of skill and quality: able to render American landscape and history like no other. And while Wyeth may not be a household name, this American-born fine arts painter has created work that only today’s super wealthy can acquire. Upon viewing his work, it is no wonder why the artist has grown increasing acclaim, but nowadays, at least $100,000 should be enough for one of Wyeth’s original illustrations — depending on the work, you could end up paying more than one-million-dollars.
The Christmas Ship in Old New York (1928), is the title of Wyeth’s two-million-dollar painting: $2,090,000 to be exact! This work is an oil paint on canvas and is signed at the lower left. Currently located in Fort Washington PA, this piece has an interesting back story of having disappeared. 1stdibs.com recounts, “The long lost NC Wyeth painting The Christmas Ship in Old New York (was) produced in 1929, (its) ‘whereabouts (were) unknown’ for over 60 years. This 4 foot 5 inch, by 11 foot 4 inch oil visits the location of its inspiration to be appreciated once again.”
Wyeth’s recovered painting features a large cloud that is used as a visual point-of-reference. The cloud — along with peripheral evergreen-trees and negative space — help build the painter’s engaging composition. Bright highlights are shown on the buildings, ground, and trees on the left side of the painting, while and deep shadows are shown on the characters and barrels at the right side of the painting. Vivid colors — like red used on the man at center-left’s
cape — are another one of Wyeth’s creative strategies. Many of his works attract their viewer with a visual-story that has just enough details to create a simple narrative: enticing the viewer to build further their own storyline.
1stDibs.com, who claims to be the, “world’s leading online marketplace for the most beautiful things on earth,” is selling the piece for its high price and will allow you to know the dollar amount without getting a POC (price upon request). Shipping is about $300, and the painting is in excellent condition. N.C Wyeth’s painting was originally a commissioned illustration that was, “reproduced on gift boxes,” and appeared on the “Saturday Evening Post December 8th, 1928,” 1stdibs says.
During his life, Wyeth created commissioned work for the Cream of Wheat Company, American Tobacco Company, Aunt Jemima, Blue Buckle Overalls, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Steinway & Sons and more — we learn from the Brandywine River Museum of Art. They also share that the (now) multi-million-dollar artist had contributed work to the American Red Cross during his career.