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Missouri Courtroom

1852 William Josiah Brickey Born: Potosi, Missouri 1826 Died: New Orleans, Louisiana 1853 oil on canvas 29 1/8 x 36 in. (74.0 x 91.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1974.112 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 14B


Luce Center Label

The participants in this courtroom scene focus their attention on a fair-skinned man dressed in rags, possibly one of the thousands of Irish immigrants who had escaped the potato famine and made their way to Missouri. These farmers settled in urban areas where they hired out as day laborers, struggling to get by with little income and no property of their own. (Parrish, gen. ed., A History of Missouri, vol. II, 1972) The men who sit in judgment are clearly more prosperous, and this painting evokes the mixed welcome that generations of European immigrants experienced in nineteenth-century America.

Keywords

Animal - dog

Architecture Interior - civic - courthouse

Cityscape - Missouri

Figure(s) in interior - civic

Occupation - law - judge

Occupation - law - lawyer

State of being - other - poverty

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About William Josiah Brickey

Born: Potosi, Missouri 1826 Died: New Orleans, Louisiana 1853