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Trial Scene

ca. 1862-1863
22 1/4 x 27 in. (56.5 x 68.6 cm)

David Gilmour Blythe
American (East Liverpool, OH, 1815 - 1865, Pittsburgh, PA)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1941.24
Location: Currently on view
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Blythe’s painting shows a scene of frontier justice in a rough building serving as a courtroom. A backwoods “lawyer” at the center either defends or makes his case against a shackled prisoner at the right. However, some elements of the scene, including the onlookers—some armed with long guns, some distracted by a card game—and the pot and sack at the lower left labelled “tar” and “feathers,” reveal that this is an extrajudicial proceeding. The prisoner whittles unconcernedly while his fate is decided, suggesting that this is a typically satirical genre scene for Blythe, who made other paintings of farcical trials and caricatured politics.

[Gallery label text, 2019]

Marks
Artist's signature, lower left: Blythe


Provenance
Artist; Private collection, Philadelphia, PA; M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York; purchased from them by the Gallery in 1941

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Web Links See links to web pages and lesson plans
Seeing America Inservice Materials from a teacher in-service presentation Spring 2008
Seeing America Chapter on David Gilmour Blythe's Trial Scene (Molly Maguires), written by Kerry Anne Morgan.


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