Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné
Patricia Hills, PhD, Founder and Director | Abigael MacGibeny, MA, Project Manager
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Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s, Inc. © 2021
Black & white
Image Courtesy of the Frick Art Reference Library
Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator. Van Ness Mausoleum, Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, DC. Washington D.C. Washington, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/dc0403/.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.
06.0 Mount Vernon, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

During the summer months of 1857 Johnson visited the George Washington homestead at Mount Vernon, Virginia, with his friend Louis Mignot. Johnson painted one or two paintings, but returned the following summer to paint several more. During the 1850s the building and its grounds had fallen into disrepair. A new veneration of Washington, spurred on by growing sectional political conflicts between North and South, led to the formation of a committee of women to restore the site. They formed the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union. The painter Thomas Rossiter brought attention to the situation by writing a plea in The Crayon (September 1858):

The nation has permitted his tomb to crumble, the storms to despoil his mansion, the weeds to grow over his footsteps and his door-sill, with an effort to preserve the sacred domain. At last, the women of the land—God bless them! Having waited and hoped in vain for a recognition of the sanctity of Mount Vernon, moved with feminine zeal and loyalty to the noble dead, have combined, organized and purchased the estate.

(Adapted from Hills, The Genre Painting of Eastman Johnson, pp. 54–55.) —PH

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Hills no. 6.0.3
1907 Sale no. 35
Van Ness Mausoleum in Washington, D.C.
1907 Sale title: The Tomb of Washington, 1857
Alternate titles: Scene Associated with Mount Vernon; The Tomb of Van Ness in Washington, D.C.; The Tomb of Washington; The Tomb of Washington at Mt. Vernon; Tomb of Washington, 1857, Mount Vernon; Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon
1858
Oil on board
12 3/4 x 19 1/2 in. (32.4 x 49.5 cm)
Initialed and dated lower right: E.J./1858 [Date is not visible in the photo and has not been confirmed by recent examination as of June 2021]
Private collection
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Record last updated April 6, 2022. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Citation: Hills, Patricia, and Abigael MacGibeny. "Van Ness Mausoleum in Washington, D.C., 1858 (Hills no. 6.0.3)." Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné. https://www.eastmanjohnson.org/catalogue/entry.php?id=50 (accessed on May 26, 2022).