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Historical Documents
A Visit from the Old Mistress
1876

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A Visit from the Old Mistress

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At the end of the Civil War, black and white Southerners confronted the reconstructions of their society. American artist Winslow Homer painted A Visit from the Old Mistress in 1876. In it he portrays the tension that existed between white plantation owners and their former slaves following emancipation. The women in the painting stand in a new relationship to each other that has not yet been defined. They face each other warily across a narrow space which no one moves to bridge.

Image Credit: National Museum of American Art/Art Resource, NY




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Related Entries:
The Civil War and emancipation





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