Facing the Enemy

Francis William Edmonds1845/1845

Chrysler Museum of Art

Chrysler Museum of Art

In this spirited battle of willpower, a ruddy-faced carpenter stares down his foe. Despite its humorous title, Facing the Enemy addresses one of the fiercest debates of the period: the pleasures and perils of alcohol. By filling the workshop with tools and posters, Francis William Edmonds constructs a story with a familiar moral lesson. The precarious tilt of the carpenter’s chair suggests the dangerous consequences of opening the whisky bottle, but do any clues within the painting tell us if he will resist the temptation?


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  • Title: Facing the Enemy
  • Creator: Francis William Edmonds
  • Date: 1845/1845
  • Location Created: New York, United States
  • Provenance: Charles M. Leupp, New York; E. A. Conover, 1860;...; New Bedford, Mass.; Christie's, 1989; The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Va., Museum Purchase, 1989.
  • Physical Dimensions: 19 x 16 in. (48.3 x 40.6 cm)
  • Credit Line: Museum purchase, dedicated by the Museum Trustees to William Hennessey in celebration of his 10th anniversary as Director, May 2007
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas