Feeding the Turkey

Artist: Eastman Johnson (American, Lovell, Maine 1824–1906 New York)

Date: ca. 1872–80

Medium: Pastel on wove paper, mounted to canvas on a wooden stretcher

Dimensions: 24 x 14 in. (61 x 35.6 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Anonymous Gift, in memory of William Brown Cogswell, 1946

Accession Number: 46.47


Although his oeuvre in pastel crayon includes no more than twenty pieces, it is nonetheless highly significant, not only because Johnson’s handling of the material was so skillful but also because he was one of the few American artists who used it during the mid-nineteenth century. Johnson began using pastel in 1847—making him practically unique among his colleagues—and may have come to regard pastel, which shared basic properties with the other drawing media he used so comfortably, as a reasonable way to add color to his work. This particular work is part of a series leading up to an oil painting of the same title. He probably used his daughter Ethel as his model.