Greatest American Painters

Dominique C. Fabronius (1828 – 1894)

Posted by A. S. Amberson on October 9, 2012

The Flag That Has Waved One Hundred Years

George Washington

Martha Washington


The Bugle Call (after William Morris Hunt)

Abraham Lincoln

Charles Sumner – I’m Not To Blame For Being White, Sir!

Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam

Gen. Benjamin F. Butler

Joseph Holt

Joseph Winlock

Lemuel Shaw

The Secession Bubble

The Mower


3 Responses to “Dominique C. Fabronius (1828 – 1894)”

  1. Bruce said

    George looks unusually grumpy here.

    While I’m at it:

    General Joseph Holt (January 6, 1807 – August 1, 1894) was a leading member of the Buchanan administration and was Judge Advocate General of the United States Army, most notably during the Lincoln assassination trials. In his third annual message Buchanan claimed that the slaves were “treated with kindness and humanity… Both the philanthropy and the self-interest of the master have combined to produce this humane result.”

    Lemuel Shaw (January 9, 1781 – March 30, 1861) was an American jurist who served as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court (1830–1860). He also had served for several years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and as a state senator. “Although Shaw strongly opposed slavery, he felt bound by the Constitution and the law, as the recent Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required states and local governments to cooperate in the capture of escaped slaves.”

    The “Secession Bubble” is subtitled “It must burst.” Here’s what I found: “A genre scene with a pointed political reference. A black girl, probably the child of slaves, plays with a soap pipe in a garden. Beyond the garden fence, in a landscape with palmettos, a fortress flying a Confederate flag is visible. The child, clearly delighted by the soap bubbles she has blown, pauses to look at the viewer. In a large bubble (upper left) is a reflection of her face. A tattered straw bonnet lies on the ground at left, and on the right a small dog starts at the sight of the bubble. In a pond before the child floats a toy boat, possibly a disparaging allusion to the Confederate navy and its recent successes in privateering and blockade running.”

    Charles Sumner (January 6, 1811 – March 11, 1874) was an American politician and senator from Massachusetts. An academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in the United States Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, working to control the ex-Confederates and guarantee equal rights to the Freedmen.

    What this painting’s subtitle means, “I’m Not To Blame For Being White, Sir!”, is this, according to one source:

    “The image is meant as an attack on Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner, who was a prominent antislavery advocate. He played an important role in the struggle for abolition of slavery. He also was a supporter of equal rights for African Americans, the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and the creation of a Freedman’s Bureau.

    “Fabronius, who immigrated to the United States in the 1850s, created the lithograph to challenge Sumner’s humanitarianism by portraying him giving money to a black child and at the same time ignoring the needs of a poor white little girl, who is standing directly in front of him.

    “The image also could be a general attack on all abolitionists. Fabronius is calling into question the priorities of whites who would place African Americans’ rights over the concerns of white people.”

    It seems, then, that the black man in “The Flag That Has Waved One Hundred Years” was just doing what he was told in hoisting Old Glory. Fabronius may not have had much use for slavery and secessionists but equality and civil rights for colored folks were not a priority for him, either.

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