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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by The Walters Art Museum, Susan Tobin.

War News from Mexico

Artist: Richard Caton Woodville (1825 - 1855)
Date: 1848
27 × 25 in. (68.6 × 63.5 cm)
Framed: 38 3/4 in. × 36 1/4 in. × 5 in.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2010.74
On View
Accession Number: 2010.74
Provenanceto (American Art-Union, New York, NY), 1849; George W. Austen, 1849; Marshall O. Roberts [1813-1880], New York, NY, 1856; by bequest to Sarah Endicott Roberts (his wife), 1880; to (Ortgies & Company, New York, NY), January 1897; to (Samuel P. Avery, New York, NY), 1897; John D. Crimmins [1844-1917], New York, NY, 1897; to the National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1897; purchased by Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation, Taylor, MI, 1994; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2004
Label TextThis genre painting (scene of everyday life) represents the hierarchies of American society during the time period of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). Only white men with the ability to vote appear within the stage-like space of the porch. A woman listens from the hotel interior, while an African American man and child sit on the steps near the ground. The presence of African Americans signals the debate ongoing at the time about whether slavery would spread to the regions ceded to the US by Mexico.