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Genesee River

15 5/8 x 22 1/2 in. (39.7 x 57.2 cm)

David Johnson
United States (New York, NY, 1827 - 1908, Walden, NY)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1969.64
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Location: Not currently on view

This pastoral scene shows cows wading at a bend in the Genesee River while their herder lounges on the ground at the left. It was painted by David Johnson, an artist from New York City who specialized in Genesee landscapes in the mid-19th century, a time when few artists were making the journey upstate.

The name Genesee originates with the Seneca people, meaning “beautiful or pleasant valley.” The rich soil of the valley and the abundance of the river has made this region a desirable location to live for centuries. This painting was made almost 100 years after the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794, in which the United States of America established the Seneca Nation’s land rights for Western New York with the Genesee River as the eastern boundary, Lake Ontario as the northern boundary, and Niagara River as the western boundary. Many subsequent violations and treaties slowly encroached upon these rights; today only three tracts of land are left to the Seneca in the region, including the Cattaraugus Reservation.

[Gallery label text, 2021]

Artist's signature, lower left: DJ

Artist's signature, verso: Genesee River/David Johnson .1888.

Thomas E. Finger (dealer), New York; to Vose Galleries of Boston, MA, June 1936; returned to Mr. Finger April 1937; returned to Vose Galleries, December 1937; purchased by Robert C. Vose, May 1939; purchased from him by James McGrath (dealer), Winchester, MA, February 1963; Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, NY; purchased from their sale of October 22, 1969 by the Gallery

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