Today’s art is a beautiful painting by American artist Tompkins H. Matteson. The title of the painting is Harvesting Hops and the original is at the Museum of Art for the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York. Matteson was born about thirty miles from Utica, in Peterboro, New York in 1813. This painting was done in 1863 so presumably it’s depicting a hop harvest in upstate New York.
As one source explains, “the various stages involved in harvesting hops have been painted in meticulous detail. Buildings with chimneys typical of breweries can be seen in the background on the right, but the subject is merely the pretext to depict a highly sentimental rural scene.” But I don’t think the author of that commentary is very familiar with what breweries look like, because the buildings he’s referring to look more like hop kilns than breweries, which makes a lot more sense, too, in the context of the painting. Not to mention that the horse-drawn cart appears to laden down with hop bales.