William Davis (American, 1829–1920)
Oil on canvas
10 1/8 x 10 1/8 inches
Gift of the West Foundation in honor of Gudmund Vigtel
With encouragement from his friend, the successful genre painter William Sidney Mount, seascape artist William Davis shifted his focus to narrative painting—presumably to take part in the rising interest among wealthy urban patrons for humble scenes of rural life. Here, Davis portrays a sick horse with farmers consulting on the fix. The consequence of the horse’s ailment—an unfortunate halt in production—is indicated by an idle plow. An equally idle field hand, shown in the shadows with his hands in his pocket, appears unable to continue his work.