Knitting for the Soldiers
Oil on millboard
Framed: 17 1/4 × 19 3/4 × 2 5/8 in. (43.8 × 50.2 × 6.7 cm) Unframed: 9 3/8 × 11 3/4 in. (23.8 × 29.8 cm)
signature and date: LL: E. JOHNSON 1861
A young girl in a brown dress, cheeks flushed, stands in a slightly dilapidated kitchen near the warmth of the stove. She is knitting a nearly completed sock in blue and white. Above the stove, a cabinet is partly open, revealing the plates within.
Searching for American subjects for his genre paintings, Johnson turned his attention to the Civil War, particularly as it affected domestic occupations. To that end, he focused on anecdotal scenes from the homefront, as in "Knitting for the Soldiers." The painting shows a young girl knitting for the troops and is faithful to the convention of using female subjects to establish domestic virtues.
"The R.L. Stuart Gallery at the Lenox Library, New York City, The Illustrated American, March 18, 1893, p. 333. New York Public Library, Catalogue of Paintings in the Picture Galleries, New York: The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, 1938. p. 17. Hills, Patricia, Eastman Johnson, New York: Crown Publishers, 1972, p. 40. Hills, Patricia, The Genre Painting of Eastman Johnson: The Sources and Development of His Style and Themes, New York Garland Publishing, Inc., 1977, p. 82. Koke, Richard J., American Landscape and Genre Paintings in the New York Historical Society, Vol. II, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1982, p. 235. Holzer, Harold, ed. "Lincoln and New York." New York: The New-York Historical Society and London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., 2009.
The Robert L. Stuart Collection, the gift of his widow Mrs. Mary Stuart
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.