Two Centuries: American Art

Two Centuries: American Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 20. Scene Associated with Mount Vernon.

Eastman Johnson

Scene Associated with Mount Vernon

Lot Closed

October 6, 06:20 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 USD

Lot Details


Eastman Johnson

1824 - 1906

Scene Associated with Mount Vernon

initialed E.J. and dated 1858 (lower right)

oil on board

board: 12 ¾ by 19 ½ inches (32.4 by 49.5 cm)

framed: 17 ¼ by 24 inches (43.8 by 61 cm)

This work is recorded as number 6.0.3 in the catalogue raisonné of Eastman Johnson's work compiled by Dr. Patricia Hills. It can be accessed at

Please note the title and catalogue note for this lot have been updated to reflect additional scholarship about the potential location depicted in the composition.
The artist
Mrs. Eastman Johnson, New York, 1906 (his wife, by descent; sold: American Art Association, New York, Finished Pictures, Studies, and Drawings by the Late Eastman Johnson, February 27, 1907, lot 35)
Ehrich Galleries, New York, by 1936
Mrs. Montgomery Murray, Long Island, New York, by 1939 (sold: Coleman Auction Rooms, New York, December 9, 1939)
Private collection, New Hyde Park, New York, by 1979
By descent to the present owner
Library of Congress Copyright Office, Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4: Engravings, Cuts, and Prints; Chromos and Lithographs; Photographs; Fine Arts; New Series, Volume 2, nos. 1-52, January-December, 1907, Washington, D.C. p. 223 no. 20710 (as Tomb of Washington, 1857, Mount Vernon)
Karal Ann Marling, George Washington Slept Here: Colonial Revivals and American Culture, 1876-1986, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1988, p. 65-66

According to the artist’s wife, and first recorded in the artist’s estate sale catalogue from 1907, Eastman Johnson created the present work during his visit to George Washington's former estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia, in 1857. It relates to a companion piece Mount Vernon in 1857 (Lot 21) also offered for sale in this auction. While neither Mount Vernon in 1857 (Lot 21) nor the present work depict recognizable structures extant on the estate today, she explained in her recollections of the painting that, “This study is of peculiar interest because it represents the tomb of Washington before it was rebuilt, and is a strong argument against the present hideous Gothic structure which has taken its place. On the left, in the shadow of large trees, stands a large circular mausoleum on a high plinth, with a short flight of steps leading to the platform. Nearby on the right stands a large weeping willow, a slender yew, and various other trees near a brick wall and the corner of a whitewashed building, all in full sunlight. In the gloom of the shadow near the steps of the mausoleum are seen the figures of two women, one dressed in black, one wearing a red shawl over her shoulders, and between them a small child dressed in white.”


In more recent scholarship provided by the Mount Vernon’s Ladies Association, the structures depicted in the present work do not match recognizable spaces on the property today nor historical images. According to the Eastman Johnson catalogue raisonné, however, the present lot is related to the Mount Vernon group of paintings in Eastman Johnson’s catalogue of work.