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War News from Mexico depicts America's thirst for news from the Mexican-American War (1846-48). A group gathers at the generically named ""American Hotel""—which represents the country as a whole rather than a specific location—to learn the latest news from the war. The central figure reads excitedly, with raised eyebrows and mouth agape, while the others strain to catch every word.

The painting also calls attention to those who remained on the margins of citizenship. Only white men with the ability to vote appear within the stage-like space of the porch. A white woman is relegated to the hotel, while an African American man and child occupy the foreground. The presence of African Americans was particularly compelling, as the nation was debating whether slavery would spread to the regions won from Mexico.

Details

  • Title: War News from Mexico
  • Creator: Richard Caton Woodville
  • Date Created: 1848
  • Physical Dimensions: 27 × 25 in. (68.6 × 63.5 cm)
  • Provenance: to (American Art-Union, New York, NY), 1849; George W. Austen, 1849; Marshall O. Roberts [1813-1880], New York, NY, 1856; by bequest to Sarah Endicott Roberts (his wife), 1880; to (Ortgies & Company, New York, NY), January 1897; to (Samuel P. Avery, New York, NY), 1897; John D. Crimmins [1844-1917], New York, NY, 1897; to the National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1897; purchased by Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation, Taylor, MI, 1994; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2004
  • Subject Keywords: genre, children, boys, men, women, newspapers
  • Rights: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.
  • External Link: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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