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.


  • Title: Field Workers
  • Creator: Ellis Wilson
  • Date Created: 1948/1951
  • Physical Dimensions: 29 3/4 x 34 7/8 in. (75.5 x 88.6 cm)
  • Credit Line: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation
  • Artist: Born Mayfield, KY 1899 – Died New York City 1977
  • Medium: oil on fiberboard: masonite

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