The City and Country Beaux

Edmonds’s painting shows a theme popular in theatrical comedies of the time—a young woman between two suitors, one from the country and one from the city. The gestures and costumes are exaggerated to the point of caricature: the city gentleman in the black suit bows formally toward his boorish rival, who wears his hat indoors and disdainfully smokes a cigar. Scenes like this were usually intended to extol the virtues of American rural life, but Edmonds’s narrative is deliberately ambiguous.


W.R. Betts, Newburgh, New York, by 1844; to F.R. Betts; (Renaissance Galleries, Philadelphia); to (M. Knoedler & Co., New York, January 8, 1943); to Robert Sterling Clark, January 8, 1943.

Francis William Edmonds

American, 1806–1863

The City and Country Beaux

c. 1838

Oil on canvas

20 1/8 x 24 1/4 in. (51.1 x 61.6 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1943




Conrads, Margaret C. American Paintings and Sculpture at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1990.