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Fish Store Sign

ca. 1850-1890 Unidentified carved, painted, and gilded wood fish: 9 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 3 3/4 in. (24.7 x 76.5 x 9.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.297 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 26A


Luce Center Label

In the mid- to late nineteenth century, craftsmen carved signs for a wide variety of businesses. These large, easily recognizable symbols guided people to the service or product needed, from the mortar and pestle of the druggist to the shoe of the cobbler and the fish of the fishmonger. This visual language of figures and objects was especially useful to the large numbers of immigrants, many of whom could not speak English.

Keywords

Animal - fish

sculpture

folk art

wood