Boy with a Fishing Pole

  • Unidentified, Boy with a Fishing Pole, ca. 1840, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of William Boswell in memory of H. Curley Boswell, 1973.152.2

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With his wide eyes, flushed cheeks, and curls, this young fellow evokes an ideal of boyhood. Childhood in the nineteenth century was seen as a too-brief stage in life, much like the fleeting moment the artist caught in this image. Boys were encouraged to exert themselves outdoors, with fishing, sledding, swimming, and ball games. An active life taught young boys to be competitive and tough, and helped them to grow into confident and successful men, a role that was not as far off as the boys might have imagined. (Mintz, Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood, 2004).

Boy with a Fishing Pole
ca. 1840
On View
27 1/8 x 21 5/8 in. (69 x 55 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of William Boswell in memory of H. Curley Boswell

  • Portrait male – unidentified – child
  • Recreation – sport and play – fishing
  • Portrait male – unidentified – waist length
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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