Field Workers

Media - 1967.57.31 - SAAM-1967.57.31_2 - 133484
Copied Ellis Wilson, Field Workers, ca. 1948-1951, oil on fiberboard: masonite, 29 3434 78 in. (75.588.6 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.57.31

Artwork Details

Field Workers
ca. 1948-1951
Not on view
29 3434 78 in. (75.588.6 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of the Harmon Foundation
Mediums Description
oil on fiberboard: masonite
  • Figure group — family
  • Landscape — road — path
  • Landscape — farm
  • Occupation — farm
  • Dress — accessory — hat
  • Object — tool — hoe
  • African American
Object Number

Artwork Description

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