The Girl I Left Behind Me

  • Eastman Johnson, The Girl I Left Behind Me, ca. 1872, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible in part by Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice in memory of her husband and by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.79

Exhibition Label
A girl stands on a promontory, her hair streaming in the wind. The path before her trails off, so she must either retrace her steps or try to find her way forward. Her wedding ring speaks to a commitment to her union and a husband who has gone to war. The split-rail fence below and the fog surrounding her speak to a world fraught with division and ambivalence. Johnson’s figure appears to be waiting for some sign of what will come next. The title comes from a Regimental song.

The Civil War and American Art, 2012

Publication Label

The Civil War defined America and forever changed American art. American artists of this era could not depict the conflict using the conventions of European history painting, which glamorized the hero on the battlefield. Instead, America's finest painters captured the transformative impact of the war. Through landscapes and genre paintings, these artists gave voice to the nation's highest ideals and deepest concerns — illustrating a time that has been described as the second American Revolution.

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Commemorative Guide. Nashville, TN: Beckon Books, 2015.

Title
The Girl I Left Behind Me
Artists
Date
ca. 1872
On View
Dimensions
42 x 34 7/8 in. (106.7 x 88.7 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase made possible in part by Mrs. Alexander Hamilton Rice in memory of her husband and by Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Figure female
  • Landscape – weather – wind
  • History – United States – Civil War
  • State of being – emotion – fear
Object Number
1986.79
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI