"Introducing Heidi"   Lot no. 3628

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By Jessie Willcox Smith (American- 1863-1935)

10.50" x 8.00"
Charcoal and Watercolor on Board



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"Introducing Heidi." Original illustration for page 11 of "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri (Philadelphia: David McKay Company, 1922). Charcoal and watercolor on board. 10 1/2x8 inches, on 20x15-inch board. Unsigned but captioned "Chapter I" in lower margin with publisher's label on verso. 

an original drawing from smith's final fully-illustrated work. 

Heidi was "a perfect showcase for Smith's illustrative art. The book represents the last major children's story in which Smith specifically designed illustrations. Fourteen separate books would follow until Smith's death in 1935, but all of these were either composites of illustrations from previous Good Housekeeping covers, or they represented relatively minor contributions of only a few illustrations. Smith's paintings for Heidi are quite unique in their use of coloration, with many shades of purple, green, and orange, giving an ethereal effect"-- Edward Nudelman, Jessie Willcox Smith, American Illustrator, page 42.

Explore related art collections: Children / $5,000 - $20,000 / Books / Family / 1920s / Newly Researched / Brandywine School / Women Artists

See all original artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith


            Jessie Wilcox Smith never married, but throughout her long career, specialized in drawing and painting mothers, babies and children. Her training was acquired at the School of Design for Women, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Thomas Eakins, and at the Drexel Institute under Howard Pyle.

            She had begun as a kindergarten teacher but turned to an art career with the stimulus and assistance of Howard Pyle. Some of her best-known illustrations were for books: Little Women, Heidi, A book of Old Stories and Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. She also painted a great many illustrations for magazines such as Collier's and McClure's, and did nearly 200 covers for Good Housekeeping. For several years, she shared house and studio with two other Pyle students, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. Working in close proximity they also strongly influenced eachother's work as well as that of several other Pyle - school women. This relationship is told in The Red Rose Girls by Alice Carter. Smith painted and exhibited widely, revieving many awards, a Silver Metal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. She was also commissioned to paint many portraits of children.

            Two other biographies, Jessie Wilcox Smith by S. Michael Schnessel, and Jessie Wilcox Smith American Illustrator by Edward D. Nudelman (who also contributed A bibliography) have been published.