"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

23 December 2021


N.C. Wyeth noted in 1918 that his family carried the illusion of St. Nicholas as far as possible, believing from his own experience as a child that "disillusionment is a myth, providing the parents can always enter into the fairy spirit of Christmas traditions and become, for a while, children themselves." N.C. himself recalls having "straddled the roof in the dark morning hours, thumping and stamping, ringing a great loop of bells down the bedroom fireplace chimney and calling out in a rumbling voice, and then quickly sliding down the ladder to take my next position inside the house by the fireplace in the big room," and noting "the dazzled faces of the children."

Years later, James Wyeth would observe, "Maybe the Wyeth's great overdoing of Christmas is because it's the one time of the year when we don't have to hide the child, hide our unbounded joy  and we can go screeching around, putting holly everywhere and hanging spiders, lots of little animals on windowsills, little men, little scenes, toys everywhere, creating this whole different world within our own room."

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