Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Field Workers

ca. 1948-1951 Ellis Wilson Born: Mayfield, Kentucky 1899 Died: New York, New York 1977 oil on fiberboard: masonite 29 3/4 x 34 7/8 in. (75.5 x 88.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Harmon Foundation 1967.57.31 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

A lush jungle of flowering tobacco plants provides the backdrop for a family of field hands who walk in frieze-like procession along a rough dirt path. The hoes and head coverings convey the nature of their toil in the heat of a late summer sun, yet their upright postures and steady gait suggest liveliness. Faces are hidden in shadow and bodies are defined by unmodulated shapes of the brightly colored clothing. Field Workers speaks eloquently to the condition of a particular family's life -- and by extension to the lives of all who toil on the land.

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2016




Ethnic - African-American

Figure group - family

Occupation - farm


paint - oil

fiberboard - masonite