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Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations
Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations

1865
23 in. (58.4 cm)

John Rogers
American (Salem, MA, 1829 - 1904, New Canaan, CT)

Full Title:Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations
Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Plaster and paint
Credit Line: Gift of M. Gertrude Deavenport
Accession Number: 1951.310
Location: Currently on view
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For a fervent abolitionist like artist John Rogers, sympathy for the Southern cause did not come easily. However, an incident in Charleston, South Carolina, inspired him to create the story in plaster. During the Civil War, as the Union army moved in to Confederate territory, citizens were required to take a loyalty oath in order to obtain food rations. Rogers has captured one mother’s conflict as she swears loyalty to the hated Union while keeping a protective hand on her child’s head. The Union soldier who is administering the oath tips his cap, simultaneously the chivalrous gentleman and the enemy. The freed slave looks on with concern and confusion.

Because of the emotional complexity and the poignant feelings evoked by this group, it was considered one of Rogers’ most successful works. Over 80,000 narrative sculptures were sold by the self-taught Rogers from his workshop in New York City to middle-class Americans looking to decorate their parlors with an engaging work of art.

[Gallery label text, 2002]

Bibliography
See general references to this work in Kimberly Orcutt's (ed.) "John Rogers: American Stories," New-York Historical Society, 2010: pp. 20-21, 23, 31, 34-35, 73, 82, 84, 211n, 224-226, 232, repr. fig. 9, p. 20; figs. 10-12, p. 21, fig. 56, p. 72, fig. 62, p. 84


Marks
Artist's signature, on base: JOHN ROGERS/NEW YORK

Inscription, on base: TAKING THE OATH/AND DRAWING RATIONS

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