About this artwork
One of several genre paintings in Eastman Johnson’s oeuvre that takes its nostalgic theme from rural Nantucket, Husking Bee, Island of Nantucket is a timeless evocation of agrarian peace and cooperation. Stylistically, the painting fuses landscape and genre, and Johnson further imbued the scene with a Barbizon, plein-air sensibility. The autumnal palette is interspersed with bright patches of red, blue, and green that appear like sparks amidst the shimmering gold of the cornhusks. Johnson carefully included a woman discovering a red ear of corn, which, according to folk tradition, would allow her to kiss the person of her choice. This combination of indigenous subject matter and an international style was typical of American art around the time of the country’s centennial.
- Eastman Johnson
- Husking Bee, Island of Nantucket
- Nantucket Island
- Oil on canvas
- Signed lower left: "E. Johnson/1876"
- 69.3 × 137 cm (27 1/4 × 54 3/16 in.)
- Gift of Honoré and Potter Palmer