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Pumpkin Time

In the early 1870s, Boston publisher Louis Prang reproduced six of painter Benjamin Champney’s oils depicting scenery in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont. One of these was Pumpkin Time.

The chromolithographs, complicated prints made by precisely layering impressions from different stones each rolled with a different color, were embossed with markings to imitate canvas and sold for $9, a price within reach of a middle-class audience.

Detail from H. Harring after Benjamin Champney's, Pumpkin Time, 1872. Chromolithograph, (15 × 24 ¼ in.) Published by L. Prang & Co., Boston.
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Above: H. Harring after Benjamin Champney's, Pumpkin Time, 1872. Below: Detail from above. Chromolithograph, (15 × 24 ¼ in.) Published by L. Prang & Co., Boston.
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Champney was a leader of the White Mountain School, a later offshoot of the Hudson River School that produced romantic views of the American landscape. Whereas some Hudson River School artists celebrated new technologies, such as the introduction of the railroad, Champney can be linked to those concerned with preserving the past.

Pumpkin Time, although created well after the Civil War, depicts a traditional harvest scene more in line with early nineteenth-century practices. Two farmers finish work by hand on their grain stacks, while pumpkins strewn over the field await retrieval.


 

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