John George Brown (American, 1831-1913)
oil on canvas, Framed: 98.00 x 120.00 x 11.00 cm (38 9/16 x 47 3/16 x 4 5/16 inches); Unframed: 80.00 x 101.60 cm (31 7/16 x 40 inches). Hinman B. Hurlbut Collection 905.1972
John George Brown's preference for rural subjects in a time when the United States was undergoing rapid industrialization suggests a nostalgia for the past. In The Boat Builder, a man pauses from his work and looks over his spectacles towards the viewer. This image of the worker as a kind, elderly craftsman peacefully working on his own, offered a comforting alternative to the brutal reality of modern factory life.