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Francis William Edmonds
The Speculator
1852
oil
25 1/8 x 30 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Ruth C. and Kevin McCann in affectionate memory of Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States



A dapper entrepreneur attempts to convince an earnest farmer and his wife to purchase a lot in a development that, based on the farmer's expression, is probably nonexistent. Edmonds was familiar with this sort of land speculation from his business experience on the boards of the New York and Erie railroad companies. The subject, like many scenes of everyday life at the time, was intended to entertain rather than provide solutions to social problems.