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David Axel Ericson
(American, 1869–1946 )
Morning of Life
oil on canvas, 27" x 22 1/4"
Gift of Mrs. E. L. Tuohy

The grand theme of life’s journey as seen through the eyes of innocent youth is the subject of this painting, which features the artist’s son (David Barnard Ericson, Jr.) at three years old, dramatically poised between the Lake Superior shore and a vast expanse of open water. Seated in the stern of a rowboat, the bow of which is still on land, the boy looks hesitantly up and across the picture plane, his right hand slightly raised as if to balance himself or perhaps even to wave goodbye. The look on his face rests somewhere between delight and fear. An identical boat, empty of passengers, is moored in the near distance behind him. The work is painted in a conservative, monochromatic impressionism, which Ericson only adopted later in his career after repeated exposure to the more daring work of European modernists. Another work by Ericson, stylistically more conservative and undated (but of the same child a few years older), pictures a boy dressed in a sailor suit, holding a toy sailboat on his lap. The details of Ericson’s life and career are well-recounted in J. Gray Sweeney’s entry on the artist in American Painting: Tweed Museum of Art (1982). David Ericson is perhaps one of the most important artists working in Minnesota around the turn of the century and certainly the most distinguished artist from the Duluth region in the first half of the twentieth century.



Museum Location

Tweed Museum of Art

University of Minnesota Duluth Campus

1201 Ordean Court

Duluth, MN 55812-2496

Info: 218-726-8222 or 218-726-6552

store: 218-726-6139



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