Eastman Johnson, 1824-1906The Cranberry Harvest, Island of Nantucket, 1880Oil on canvas, 69.5 x 138.4 cm (27-3/8 x 54-1/2 in.)In 1870, after searching for aspects of American rural life to use as subjects for ambitious paintings, Johnson began to draw inspiration from Nantucket Island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. With this view of a cranberry harvest, he successfully realized his efforts to paint a celebration of New England outdoor life. The work also marks a significant achievement in the history of American art. Using an evocative, rather than descriptive, technique, Johnson lavishes attention on the landscape, from the dry grasses of the cranberry bog to the distant and accurate view of Nantucket's spires and lighthouse. The principle focus of this scene washed by late-afternoon light is the configuration of pickers, and their poses and gestures. The standing woman in the center who looks at a boy carrying an infant to her creates a narrative suggesting that the artist recorded the scene as he witnessed it.Provenance:Auguste Richard, 1880–at least 1893 [1]With Bernard Bivall, London, 1969With Peter Tillou, Inc., Litchfield, Connecticut, and Vose Galleries, BostonAcquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1972Provenance Notes:{1] Johnson submitted The Cranberry Harvest to the National Academy of Design spring exhibition in 1880. During the next several years, the painting was on public view at the newly opened uptown galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and later, in 1893, at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. For over 70 years afterward, however, the painting was unrecorded.



 

Eastman Johnson, 1824-1906
The Cranberry Harvest, Island of Nantucket, 1880
Oil on canvas, 69.5 x 138.4 cm (27-3/8 x 54-1/2 in.)

In 1870, after searching for aspects of American rural life to use as subjects for ambitious paintings, Johnson began to draw inspiration from Nantucket Island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. With this view of a cranberry harvest, he successfully realized his efforts to paint a celebration of New England outdoor life. The work also marks a significant achievement in the history of American art. Using an evocative, rather than descriptive, technique, Johnson lavishes attention on the landscape, from the dry grasses of the cranberry bog to the distant and accurate view of Nantucket's spires and lighthouse. The principle focus of this scene washed by late-afternoon light is the configuration of pickers, and their poses and gestures. The standing woman in the center who looks at a boy carrying an infant to her creates a narrative suggesting that the artist recorded the scene as he witnessed it.

Provenance:

Auguste Richard, 1880–at least 1893 [1]
With Bernard Bivall, London, 1969
With Peter Tillou, Inc., Litchfield, Connecticut, and Vose Galleries, Boston
Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1972

Provenance Notes:

{1] Johnson submitted The Cranberry Harvest to the National Academy of Design spring exhibition in 1880. During the next several years, the painting was on public view at the newly opened uptown galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and later, in 1893, at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. For over 70 years afterward, however, the painting was unrecorded.