Post Update: Firefly has uncovered a very interesting article regarding the whereabouts of the original painting for this week's Wordless Wednesday. I have emailed appropriate curators at the White House and the museums mentioned in the article and hope to hear back from them soon. This is getting interesting....Please read the entire post and make sure you view the comments as well.
Congrats to A.M. Whittaker and Firefly who placed the proper information in the comments section first.
The painting I featured in this week’s Wordless Wednesday seen here was created by American artist, N.C. Wyeth. It was first commissioned in 1930 for the Pennsylvania Railroad where it was used as a patriotic poster. Unfortunately I was unable to discover if any of the poster images survive or where the original painting is today. I have emailed the Wyeth homeplace and studio to see what they can tell me.
The painting does depict President Washington and White House architect, James Hoban inspecting the uncompleted White House in 1798. The site of the White House was chosen by Washington and city planner, Pierre L’Enfant, which we recognize today as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Though Washington never lived in the mansion he did oversee the construction. Wikipedia advises Mr. Hoban resided on the grounds of the White House during construction with his wife, ten children, and nine slaves in a red brick house.
The second purpose for Wyeth’s image came about in 1971, some twenty-six years after Wyeth’s tragic death in a train crossing accident. President Nixon along with his wife, Pat, choose Wyeth’s image for their official White House Christmas Card.
As I researched White House Christmas Cards for my recent post at American Presidents I was struck by the 1971 card and how different the image was compared to other cards. I loved the big, billowy clouds and just the overall painting style made me pause and take notice. Compare this image to other N.C. Wyeth images seen here and here. He had quite a career doing illustrations for children's book and magazines such as Scribners.
Tanya Nichols over at Crafty Girls mentioned in the comments she would come back and print the picture out for her children. This is a great idea. Children need to view art as something to interpret and every painting has more than one meaning.
Inferencing is one of the reading skills I struggle with every year to teach my fourth graders. All of you who commented on my Wordless Wednesday this week did just that…..even if you did it comically….you were inferencing and it is a powerful tool for learning. There is a fantastic N.C. Wyeth painting called The Giant here. It is a great learning tool for kids to experience the “whole” picture. Sometimes you can set your printer to black and white or outline and print a famous painting out for kids to color. They love this.
You can learn more about N.C. Wyeth here.
I'm pleased that some of you seem to be enjoying this little diversion. I had thought about chucking the whole thing, but it would seem it is serving a learning purpose....for ALL of us. :)