Pitching the tune signed and dated 'A.M.Willard/1894' (lower left) oil on canvas 35 x 49 1/2in
PROVENANCE: Dr. Ben Culver, the artist's nephew Private collection, Southern California
LITERATURE: Willard F. Gordon, The Spirit of '76...An American Portrait: America's best known painting, least known artist, Fallbrook, CA, 1976, p.74,75, ill., 84, 87
Willard has long been known the general public as the creator of the iconic image 'The Spirit of '76. 'Pitching the Tune' was to be Willard's last major humorous painting. In this work he supposedly employed members of his family and a local ditch digger to act as model for the preacher, who was apparently taken aback that he would receive $5 to "Just to set and take it easy".