Brown's preference for rural subjects in a time when the United States was undergoing rapid industrialization suggests nostalgia for the past. Indeed, Boat Builder, an image of an elderly craftsman working alone with hand tools in a tranquil setting replete with his sleeping dog, offered its contemporary audience a distinct alternative to mechanized factory production.
CMA 1973: "Year in Review for 1972," Bulletin, LX (March, 1973), p. 82, no. 115.
Atlanta, High Museum of Art, April 2 - July 31, 1994: "John George Brown: The Dignity of Years".