American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Eastman Johnson, American, 1824–1906

Cranberry Pickers

ca. 1878–79

Oil on canvas

27 × 54 1/8 in. (68.6 × 137.5 cm)
Bequest of Christian A. Zabriskie
1970.56.1

“I was taken with my cranberry fit as soon as I arrived,” wrote Eastman Johnson from his vacation home on Nantucket Island in 1879, “and have done nothing else.” An industry that was barely twenty years old and of serious economic importance to the island, the annual cranberry harvest created a sense of community, bringing together generations: an old man works beside a child; a young couple leans toward one another; a baby sleeps. Johnson’s view of a community at home on the land would have appealed to urban audiences.

Geography: 
Depicted Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Provenance: 

Eastman Johnson estate/Mrs. Eastman Johnson, New York, 1906 (by bequest)
The artist's estate sale, American Art Association, New York, February 26-27, 1907, no. 147 (as The Cranberry Harvest)
Andrew C. Zabriskie, February 27, 1907 (by purchase)
Christian A. Zabriskie, his son, by 1940
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1970 (by bequest)

Bibliography: 

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 250–51, no. 142, ill.

“Eastman Johnson Sale,” American Art News 5 (March 2, 1907): 3.

Patricia Hills, Eastman Johnson: Retrospective Exhibition, exh. cat. (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1972), 98, no. 86, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.