Signed, lower right: W. Whittredge
Farm labor appears effortless in this painting as a horseman drives cattle across a sunlit field. Farmers have always faced incredible economic precarity and long, hard work, but this painting uses nostalgia to promote a myth that the past was a simpler time. Ignoring the realities of farm work encouraged deeper economic stratification between social classes. The wealthy Manhattan merchant who owned this painting never knew the true toils of agricultural labor.
Before he studied in Düsseldorf with Emanuel Leutze, Worthington Whittredge began his career in Cincinnati, where he developed a close friendship with Robert Duncanson. Compare this painting with Duncanson’s Stone Bridge on view in this exhibition.
From the 2022 exhibition Historical Imaginary, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art
Film Studies 42.23, Travelers and Tourists, Heidi Denzel, Spring 2023
History 63.02, Reading Artifacts: The Material Culture of Science, Whitney Barlow Robles, Spring 2023
American Viewpoints: Painting and Sculpture from the Hood Museum of Art, Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, California, May 5-August 31, 2003.
Historical Imaginary, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 17, 2022-November 12, 2023.
Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 7, 2002-February 28, 2003.
Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 52, no. 31.
Date unknown, in the collection of the donor's great-grandmother Mary Ely Miller (Mrs. Charles) (1849-1929), West 37th Street, New York, New York; probably 1929-1951, in the collection of the donor's grandmother, Laura Miller Isham; 1951-1989, in the collection of Mary C. Schmid; 1989 given to Dartmouth College by Robert and Mary C. Schmid, Hanover, New Hampshire.
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