Philadelphia painter Mike Manley sees this N.C. Wyeth painting as a good example of what people really mean when they say a painting “looks like a photograph.”
Lead Image: “Frontier Trapper,” by N.C. Wyeth, 1920, oil, 34 x 32 in.
“They aren’t saying that as an insult,” he explains. “They just don’t have the words. They mean that it feels real.”
Wyeth made things feel real, and perhaps some of that has to do with what Manley calls “that great, magical sense of color.” It captivated Manley as a boy, and it still intrigues him. “It was the cover of one of my Bookhouse Books,” says Manley. “I think it was the first painting that I remember. It had a big impact on me — and he’s still one of my top five painters. I still have the feeling I had as a kid. I still love his stuff. But now I see the decisions he made.”