The New Scholar

Engraver Alfred Jones American
After Francis William Edmonds American
Publisher American Art-Union, New York American

Not on view

A mother here delivers her son to school for the first time with the boy's apprehension mirrored by the family dog, who sniffs the teacher's leg. While the latter appears genial, the switch he holds behind is back suggests that he is a strict disciplinarian. The print was published by the American Art-Union, a New York institution that boasted nearly nineteen thousand subscribers at its height in 1849-50. For an annual fee of five dollars, each member received a large, finely engraved, print and was entered in a lottery to win original artworks which were exhibited at the Art-Union's Free Gallery. Aimed at educating the public about contemporary American art, the group's distribution network reached members in every state. This contributed to the creation of a national market for landscapes and genre paintings. The system flourished for a limited period, however, with no lottery taking place in 1851, the year that the Art-Union issued this work as part of a supplementary set of smaller engravings titled "Gallery of American Art," No. I.

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