The Nantucket School of Philosophy

Eastman Johnson1887

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

In this work, Johnson's last dated painting of everyday life, a group of elderly men, seated around a stove in a cobbler's shop, reminisces about the past. Two years after the picture was completed, Johnson identified the philosophers: Captain Haggerty, the shoemaker; Captain Moore, the talker; and on the left, leaning on his hand, Captain Ray. The other captains, he noted, were by then already deceased.

Like a number of his fellow genre painters, the Boston artist trained abroad in Düsseldorf, Germany, and later at The Hague in the Netherlands, where he became familiar with Dutch 17th-century art. Between 1870 and 1887, Johnson spent the summer and autumn months working in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

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  • Title: The Nantucket School of Philosophy
  • Creator: Eastman Johnson (American, 1824-1906)
  • Date Created: 1887
  • External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the Walters Art Museum collection, please visit art.thewalters.org
  • Roles: Artist: Eastman Johnson (American, 1824-1906)
  • Provenance: Acquired by Edward D. Adams, New York. Acquired by Knoedler and Co., New York; Sale, Knoedler and Co., New York, April 5, 1924 [1]; purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1924; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] Ed King's Notebook, Walters-Anderson Correspondence, etc. list this date as April 3, 1924 conflicting the date of the Knoedler and Co. Sale
  • Object Type: paintings
  • Medium: oil on panel
  • Inscriptions: Signed and dated, lower right: E. Johnson 1887.
  • Geography: Place Depicted: Nantucket
  • Exhibitions: The American Artist as Painter and Draftsman. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2001., Eastman Johnson: Painting America. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; San Diego Museum Of Art, San Diego; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle. 1999-2000., Revisiting the White City: American Art at the 1893 World's Fair. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 1993.
  • Dimensions: H: 23 1/4 x W: 31 11/16 in. (59 x 80.5 cm); framed: H: 34 3/4 x W: 43 1/4 x D: 2 1/2 in. (88.3 x 109.9 x 6.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1924
  • Classification: Painting & Drawing
  • Accession Number: 37.311