The Scythe Grinder
Oil on canvas
Overall: 24 1/8 x 20 in. ( 61.3 x 50.8 cm ) frame: 30 1/4 x 26 1/4 x 3 in. (30 1/4 x 26 1/4 x 3 in.)
An African-American boy cranks the wheel, watching with fascination as the scythe makes contact with the stone. The white supervisor watches with a kindly look. Various farm tools are strewn nearby. To the right stands a barn in which a man unloads hay from a wagon. On the barn roof are three birds and a rooster weathervane, above is a clouded blue sky.
Edmonds' artistic style owes much to the practices of Dutch and Flemish painting, which he studied closely during his travels through Europe. Americans admired those earlier works for the clear and straightforward expression of the Dutch national character. Artists like Edmonds hoped to use a similar style to convey a sense of the maturing character of America. A sketch based on this painting was used for a banknote engraving.
Mann, Maybelle, "Francis William Edmonds: Mammon and Art," The American Art Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 1970, pp. 92-106. Mann, Maybelle, Francis William Edmonds: Mammon and Art, New York University Ph.D. Dissertation, 1972, pp. 146-8. Mann, Maybelle, "Humor and philosophy in the paintings of Francis William Edmonds," Antiques, November 1974, pp. 862-70. Mann, Maybelle, Francis William Edmonds, Washington, D.C.: International Exhibits Foundation, 1975, p. 46. Koke, Richard J., American Landscape and Genre Paintings in the New York Historical Society, Vol. I, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1982, pp. 6-7. Clarke, H. Nichols B., Francis W. Edmonds, American Master in the Dutch Tradition, Washington, D.C.; Published for Amon Carter Museum by Smithsonian Institution Press, 1988, pp. 111-9.
Gift of Charles E. Dunlap
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.