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Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Dwight Primiano.

Politics in the Workshop

Artist: Thomas Waterman Wood (1823 - 1903)
Date: 1867
27 x 22 in. (68.6 x 55.9 cm)
Framed: 39 x 34 x 4 in. (99.1 x 86.4 x 10.2 cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Promised Gift to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
Signed: l.l., in brown paint: T. W. Wood 1867.
On View
Label TextThe blacksmith became a popular subject in nineteenth-century painting and poetry as a figure of honest labor and independent, rural values. His trade required both intelligence and physical strength. Thomas Waterman Wood’s well-rounded individual takes an inviting stance, gesturing as if he’s ready to discuss the events reported in the newspaper he holds. The work of the blacksmith signaled a return to normalcy after the Civil War, as he transformed wartime weapons into everyday tools.