The Farmer Wanted a Boy

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.

Date:

1942

Artist:

Robert Gwathmey
American, 1903–1988

About this artwork

Known for depicting the plight of impoverished southern African Americans with dignity and sensitivity, Robert Gwathmey concentrated on destitute rural whites in The Farmer Wanted a Boy. World War II has taken the young men away, leaving the elderly, women, and children to fend for themselves. Yet the central focus on the infant and the title of the work suggests an optimistic meaning despite the grimness of the scene. The baby can be seen as a beacon of hope amidst the surrounding turmoil and depair; he is the only one in the composition not weighed down, literally and figuratively, by the overwhelming burden of poverty.

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American Art

Artist

Robert Gwathmey

Title

The Farmer Wanted a Boy

Origin

United States

Date

1942

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

Signed l.r.: Gwathmey

Dimensions

61.6 × 114.6 cm (25 1/4 × 45 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Mary and Earle Ludgin Collection

Reference Number

1981.261

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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