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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

The Village Politicians

Artist: John L. Krimmel (1786 - 1821)
Date: ca. 1819
35 1/2 × 48 1/4 in. (90.2 × 122.6 cm)
Framed: 46 1/8 × 58 1/4 in.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2007.5
On View
Accession Number: 2007.5
ProvenanceAlexander Murray [1755-1821], by 1820. purchased by Private Collection, Detroit, MI, early 1980s; (Antiques and Interiors of Pass Christian, Pass Christian, MS); purchased by Eugene C. Daymude, New Orleans, LA, July 2000; (Christie's, New York, NY), November 20, 2006, lot 105, not sold; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2007
Label TextKrimmel's The Village Politicians, which shows a group of men gathered around a table in a tavern, arguing about politics, is a copy of a painting of the same name by David Wilkie, the most admired British painter of Krimmel's generation. In 1809, the German-born artist immigrated to the United States, where he became the young nation's first noted painter of subjects from everyday life.

Krimmel was true to Wilkie's overall composition but made small changes that distinguish his painting as American. The artist replaced the metal tankard at the foot of the table in Wilkie's image with a Philadelphia earthenware pitcher, and, in the center of the composition, substituted the Washington, D.C. newspaper The National Intelligencer for Edinburgh, Scotland's Gazeteer. Krimmel drowned in a friend's pond just two years after completing this painting, leaving behind a scant twenty-four known works.