John Lewis Krimmel (1786–1821)

Blind Man's Buff, 1814

Oil on canvas, 16 5/8 x 22 1/16 in. (42.2 x 56.0 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.82

Born in the south German duchy of Württemberg, John Lewis Krimmel immigrated in 1809 to Philadelphia, where he became the first artist to take his imagery from American daily life. Blind Man’s Buff, typical of his interior genre scenes, focuses on a children’s game in which a blindfolded child tries to catch and identify other players. Compositions, character types, and subjects inspired by the works of Scottish artist David Wilkie (1785–1841), as well as seventeenth-century Dutch and contemporary German genre painting, influenced Krimmel’s domestic rural scenes. These were popularized largely through engravings. His vivid representations of mundane life struck a chord with contemporaries. Accessible and affirmative, works such as Blind Man’s Buff expressed Americans’ search for a national identity in the republic’s early years.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.