Music fills this humble kitchen. The faces of its occupants show curiosity, admiration, joy, and contentment, confirming the beauty of the fiddle’s sounds. Painted immediately after the Civil War, Eastman Johnson’s Fiddling His Way explores the new freedoms and economic challenges facing emancipated African Americans. The fiddler, like Johnson, is an artist. The painter thus includes a moral lesson within this charming picture, instructing his fellow white Americans to respect the talents and humanity of all citizens.



  • Title: Fiddling His Way
  • Creator: Eastman Johnson
  • Date: 1866/1866
  • Location Created: New York City, NY, United States
  • Provenance: Robert L. Stuart, New York, 1867 [The Stuart collection, including three other Eastman Johnson paintings once owned by Stuart, is now in the collection of the New York Public Library, on permanent loan to the New-York Historical Society]; John T. Johnston, by 1876, as "Wandering Fiddler" [sold later during the year]; J. W. Garrett of Baltimore, by 1880, as "Wandering Fiddler"; Levison; Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York, 1966; Private Collection, [Mortimer Spiller?] Buffalo, New York; Coe Kerr Gallery, Inc., 1970-1974; On loan to the Chrysler Museum, 1971; Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., Norfolk, Va., 1974-1989; Bequest of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. to the Chrysler Museum at Norfolk, 1989.
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., 24 1/4 x 36 1/2 in. (61.6 x 92.7 cm)
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps