$7,500 Reduced from $12,000
Thomas Waterman Wood (American, 1823-1903) - Farmer With Scythe (The Jolly Reaper). Oil on canvas. Circa 1885. Canvas size: 30 inches x 20 inches. Signed in lower right - T.W. Wood. Condition: this painting has been sympathetically restored and relined in the mid 20th century. The stretcher iron corner brackets bear a patent date of 1883. The signature is very faint, probably as a result of the restoration. Offered in a Victorian walnut frame. This delightful painting by Vermont’s most celebrated nineteenth-century artist, Thomas Waterman Wood, may be considered both a portrait and a genre painting due to its highly descriptive narrative quality. In contrast to the common motif of ‘the grim reaper,’ an image that was especially pervasive in post-Civil War America, Wood presents a reaper whose demeanor is at the opposite end of the spectrum. The engaging farmer with his broad straw hat, bright red neckerchief, orange suspenders, and baggy work pants is not only cheerful but also jocular. The rosy bloom on his cheeks may be the result of his recent labors in a sunny field, but might just as well be due to a hearty burst of laughter. Indeed, it is hard to look at this engaging fellow without smiling. The model for the farmer was likely an acquaintance of the artist, and quite possibly a Vermonter. While Wood traveled widely and maintained a studio in New York City during periods of his career, he routinely returned to Vermont where he maintained a summer residence. Many of his paintings are known to depict Vermont friends and family. Thomas Waterman Wood was one of the most celebrated American artists of the nineteenth century. A president of both the National Academy of Design and the American Watercolor Society, his work can be found in leading national museums including the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as in dozens of smaller museums.