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The Fisher Boy
Alexander Harrison was an expatriate American painter who favored marine scenes of leisure and work life. He includes both in this painting of a young fisherman taking a break from the work that supplied the catch of fish at his feet. He leans against the wall behind him and hangs with one hand from a loop screw above in order to create a headrest with his arm. He appears dazed with eyes wide but focusing on nothing in particular. He balances a circular fishing device between his feet, one of which he's pulled out of his shoe to reveal a tattered sock. The device serves to frame his worn sock and trousers, drawing our attention to his poverty (-figgeartmuseum.org). Harrison depicts the boy's posture so effortlessly it is immediately familiar, allowing the viewer to further imagine his experience of waiting and wishing. The entire composition is rendered with a soft texture and color palette, appearing dreamlike, although conveying a heavier reality.