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Two Men (Study for The Funding Bill)

Two Men (Study for The Funding Bill)

Eastman Johnson

This study for a larger painting, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, combines genre painting and portraiture. The scene represents Robert W. Rutherford, brother-in-law of Eastman Johnson’s wife, and Samuel W. Rowse, a fellow artist and friend. Johnson was inspired to paint this unposed scene when he saw the two men engaged in spirited debate in his parlor. The two men discuss a bill before Congress at the time pertaining to the re-funding the national debt. Johnson captured the way ordinary citizens participated in American democracy by engaging in political debate in their homes. He thought this image of common men worthy of his annual submission to the prestigious National Academy of Design exhibition in 1881.
Eastman Johnson
(American, 1824 - 1906)
Two Men (Study for The Funding Bill)
Oil on canvas
21 1/2 x 27 1/4 in. overall
Gift of Stuart P. Feld in honor of Sue Kessler Feld ’69 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of her graduation, 2019
Accession No.
United States


The artist, Eastman Johnson (New York, NY); before 1916, [probably to] Daniel Huntington [1816–1906, portrait painter] (New York, NY); 27-28 January 1916, Keeler Art Galleries (New York, NY) sale of D. Huntington collection [no. 140]; 1967, Kennedy Galleries, Inc. (New York, NY); Private collection; 2005, acquired by exchange by Stuart P. and Sue Kessler Feld (New York, NY); 2019, gifted to the Chazen Museum of Art.

  • Hills, Patricia. "The Genre Painting of Eastman Johnson: The Sources and Development of His Style and Themes." (Ph.D. diss., 1973) New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1977. pp. 125-126
  • Hills, Patricia. "Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné." online catalogue published July 29, 2021, Hills no. 31.7.13
  • Hills, Patricia. "Eastman Johnson: Retrospective Exhibition." New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1972. p. 114, no. 103

  • Eastman Johnson: Retrospective Exhibition: Whitney Museum of American Art, 3/28/1972–12/3/1972

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