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Image of Shine, Mister?

John George Brown
American, 1831–1913

Shine, Mister?


Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American
23 1/2 in. x 16 1/2 in. (59.69 cm x 41.91 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Accession Number: 1985.0011

Credit Line: Gift of Babette L. and Charles H. Wampold

John George Brown was one of the most popular, and most collected, American artists of the late nineteenth century. He was particularly known for subjects like this one, depicting New York’s street children. Brown painted many versions of the “young bootblack,” and they were frequently purchased by middle-class, self-made businessmen who believed that success was dependent on entrepreneurship and personal initiative. What contemporaries saw as industriousness on the part of the child, we might view as indicative of the evils of child labor.

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