Perry’s canvases conjured happy memories for urban viewers by celebrating a vanishing way of life. The Yankee farmers portrayed here, however, resemble George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and thus summoned up more than simple nostalgic reverie. By seating the two icons of ideal American citizenry in a barnlike interior, Perry honored rural values in the face of the pressures of massive immigration and the unprecedented industrial and economic growth the nation was then experiencing.
Signature: [at lower left]: E.W. Perry / [NA] / '72
Nesmith family, Brooklyn, 1870s; Mrs. Tarbell (nee Nesmith); Private Collection, Camden, Maine; auctioned in Maine; with Millard Spencer, Bridgton, Maine, 1978; with Daniel B. Grossman Inc., New York, 1978; Erving and Joyce Wolf, New York, 1978–1980