Bronze sculpture of a standing male figure his right hand holding a shield which rests upon a stack of book while his left arm is outstretched hovering over the crouching figure of an African American male figure.
At the end of the Civil War (1861–65) there was an effort to promote an American Renaissance and to beautify cities with civic monuments and public sculpture. Sculptors, including Randolph Rogers, were commissioned to produce memorials that addressed themes of war and slavery and to commemorate military heroes, from the common soldier to President Abraham Lincoln himself. This work is a maquette for the Emancipation Memorial in Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Park, which depicts Abraham Lincoln as the “Great Emancipator” freeing a slave, establishing a narrative of theoretical peace and unity.
A group of figures stand in a market place flanked by brown and tan buildings under a freely-painted sky. Most of these figures are women in the high linen headdresses characteristic of the region. At center is a woman with a red jacket.
Boudin, who lived in the nearby port city of Le Havre, spent a lot of time in the picturesque fishing town of Honfleur. This depiction of the local fish market was probably painted "plein air" directly in front of the motif, and may be a sketch, although a finished painting of this composition is unknown. Boudin's work concentrated on the costal regions of Normandy and Brittany. He was an important early influence on Claude Monet, who also painted extensively in Honfleur.
Painting depicts a solitary male figure standing along the shore. The thin layers of paint evoke a misty, overcast day with the figure standing perhaps on a tidal flat.
Whistler accompanied the Realist painter Gustave Courbet in a late summer painting campaign along the Normandy coast, in the resort town of Trouville. Although Whistler had embraced the tenets of Realism early in his career, by 1865 he had begun to evolve his own painting style that departed from the vigorous brushwork and heavy impasto of Courbet's example. This work, painted in the older artist's company, exhibits Whistler's characteristic thin veils of paint that evoke the atmosphere along the coastline rather than minutely describe it. The presence of the man implies no narrative story but is a precisely placed accent within the composition. Whistler's credo of "art for art's sake" has already shaped how he portrays a cloudy day at a summer retreat.