Lecture at the Farnsworth Poems, Painters and Patriots: N.C. Wyeth’s Poems of American Patriotism

N.C. Wyeth, The Old Continentals, 1922, Oil on canvas, 40 x 28 1/8 inches, Collection of The Hill School, Pottstown, PA

On Wednesday, June 20, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine will present the opening lecture for the exhibition N.C. Wyeth: Poems of American Patriotism. The lecture by Farnsworth Chief Curator Michael Komanecky is the museum’s first Stephen May and Kathryn B. Wilson Lecture and will take place in the museum’s auditorium at 2 p.m.

In 1922, Columbia University professor Brander Matthews’ book Poems of American Patriotism was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons with seventeen illustrations by famed American illustrator N.C. Wyeth. This reissue of an unillustrated 1882 edition was inspired by the popularity of Scribner’s many previous books with Wyeth’s illustrations, and by the still fresh memory of America’s participation in World War I. It was also inspired by Americans’ long-standing familiarity with and appreciation for poetry, and in particular its love of works by the so-called “Schoolroom Poets” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, and John Greenleaf Whittier, among others. In the period when Poems of American Patriotism’s two editions were published, poetry was a part of everyday life, in both the private and public spheres, in a way it is no longer. This presentation will focus on the context in which the two anthologies of poems were created, including Wyeth’s role as illustrator.

The exhibition N.C. Wyeth: Poems of American Patriotism opens to the public on Saturday, June 16, with a members’ preview and reception on the evening before. Lead Sponsors of the exhibition are Sasha and Ed Bass, and Linda Bean’s Maine Wyeth Gallery. Exhibition support is provided by Anna Mae Twigg in honor of George Twigg III, and the Gilder Foundation. Midcoast Community Partners include the O’Hara Corporation. For more information or to register, please visit www.farnsworthmuseum.org

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