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A Pic-Nic Party

Thomas Cole

American Art

Thomas Cole undertook this painting in the fall of 1845 in response to a generous commission from the wealthy New York banker and philanthropist James Brown. Cole chose the subject of a picnic to describe the ideal coexistence of nature and civilization. The demand for paintings like this one that combined the figural and natural was a result, at least in part, of the rising popularity of outdoor leisure-time pursuits, including excursions such as picnics. However, hints of time’s passage and mortality invade this otherwise lighthearted scene through the ax-cut tree stump so prominent in the foreground.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1846
DIMENSIONS 47 7/8 × 72 1/2 in. (121.6 × 184.2 cm) frame: 57 1/8 × 81 × 4 3/8 in. (145.1 × 205.7 × 11.1 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed lower center: "T Cole / 1846"
CREDIT LINE Healy Purchase Fund B
PROVENANCE 1846, acquired by James Brown of New York, NY; by 1967, descended through the Brown family of Tennessee to Winthrop G. Brown of Washington, D.C.; by 1967, acquired, probably from Winthrop G. Brown, by Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York; 1967, purchased from Hirschl & Adler Galleries by the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Thomas Cole (American, born England, 1801–1848). A Pic-Nic Party, 1846. Oil on canvas, 47 7/8 × 72 1/2 in. (121.6 × 184.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Healy Purchase Fund B, 67.205.2 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 67.205.2_framed_PS22.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 67.205.2_framed_PS22.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2024
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