A Ride for Liberty - The Fugitive Slaves, March 2, 1862 (Primary Title)

Eastman Johnson, American, 1824 - 1906 (Artist)

oil on board
Unframed: 21 1/2 × 26 in. (54.61 × 66.04 cm)
Framed: 31 × 35 × 3 3/8 in. (78.74 × 88.9 × 8.57 cm)
In 1862 Eastman Johnson followed the Army of the Potomac into northern Virginia, seeking subjects for his art. Johnson took great care to record that he was a witness to this particular event, affixing a note that remains on the reverse of the painting and reads in part: “A veritable incident in the civil war seen by myself at Centerville.” Whole elements of the suspenseful atmosphere, such as the dark fog punctuated by the early dawn light, may have been the artist’s embellishment. The family’s fearful but determined flight presents a powerful illustration of the overwhelming desire for freedom that motivated many throughout the South to escape bondage despite the risk of great peril.
signed at lower right: "E. Johnson"
Paul Mellon Collection
2019: "Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality", Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Richmond, VA, June 19, 2019 - March 1, 2020.

2018: " Collecting for the Commonwealth Preserving for the Nation, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1919-2018", Winter Antiques Show, Park Avenue Armory, New York City, NY, January 18 - 26, 2018.

2012-2013: "The Civil War and American Art" Smithsonian American Museum, Wshington, November 16, 2012 - April 27, 2013; Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 21 - September 2, 2013.

2012: "Bold, Cautious, True: Walt Whitman and American Art of the Civil War Era", Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, June 2 - August 26, 2012.

2011: "An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia", Virginia Historical Society, February 4 - December 30, 2011.

2009-2010: "Bold, Cautious, True: Walt Whitman and American Art of the Civil War Era", Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN, July 5 - October 4, 2009; Katohan Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, October 26, 2009 - January 24, 2010
Davis, John; et al. A Companion to American Art. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. pp. 420, fig. 24.2 b&w ill.

Wenzel, Edward. Chronology of the Civil War in Fairfax County, Part 1: Battles, Skirmishes, Incidents & Events of the War Between the States Occurring in Fairfax County, Virginia. Centreville, VA ; North Charleston, SC: Bull Run Civil War Round Table, Inc. and CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015. pp. 444, b&w ill., text pp. 285.

O’Leary, Elizabeth L., Sylvia Yount, Susan Jensen Rawles, and David Park Curry. American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with the University of Virginia Press, 2010. (No. 60, p. 166-169).

Dan Bartges, “Cracking the Color Code,” Arts and Activities magazine Vol. 148, No. 1, Sept. 2010, p. 31, color ill.

Dan Bartges, Color is Everything (Richmond, VA: The Oaklea Press, 2008)
pp. 45-46 , color ills. pp. 45 & 46 (det.).
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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