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Painting Print: N. C. Wyeth’s Illustrations for The Last of the Mohicans

Like many of his contemporaries, N.C. Wyeth executed commissions for popular print illustrations of historical Native life. This essay closely examines Wyeth’s work for Fenimore Cooper’s novel, The Last of the Mohicans, done in 1919. By putting Wyeth’s original paintings in dialogue with both their future print processes and collections of Native material culture, this essay considers how print media played a role in authenticating a generalized Native culture for American audiences, far removed from the material and social realities of Native communities.
Relevant research areas: North America, 20th Century, Book arts, Engraving