Born: Salem, Massachusetts 1829
Died: New Canaan, Connecticut 1904
plaster 17 5/8 x 17 x 12 1/8 in. (44.9 x 43.2 x 30.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Fred D. Bentley, Sr.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 16A
Luce Center Label
Scenes of everyday life frequently inspired the work of John Rogers. In Neighboring Pews, a gentleman flirtatiously directs a young woman to the correct page in her hymnal as an older lady looks on with an expression Rogers called "[indignation] at the preference shown." It seems that no one pays attention to the ceremony at hand—a young boy in the front pew tries on the man's hat and gloves, oblivious to the scene unfolding behind him. Rogers sent pictures of his work to newspapers with the hopes that they would write articles to promote his art. This often worked, and he was one of the first artists to use images to sell his work. Neighboring Pews was first released in time for Christmas 1883, and newspapers advertised it as an excellent gift, especially for pastors.
Recreation - church