Information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I, pages 376-382, which is available as a free PDF at https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/american-paintings-19th-century-part-1.pdf
lower right: E. Johnson 1869
Eliza Maria and James Brown, New York; given December 1870 to their grandson, James Clifton Brown [d. 1917] and his wife, Amelia Brown, Faygate, England; their son, Howard Clifton Brown [d. 1946], Faygate, England; his daughter, Elizabeth Clifton Brown Calvert, Faygate, England; her sister and brother-in-law, Katherine and Ion Garnett-Orme, Cheriton, England, by about 1950; (Peter H. Davidson & Co., New York), by 1978; purchased 15 November 1978 by NGA.
- La Pintura de Los Estados Unidos de Museos de la Ciudad de Washington, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, 1980-1981, no. 23, color repro.
- Bilder aus der Neuen Welt: Amerikanische Malerei des 18. un 19. Jahrhundts, Orangerie des Schlosses Charlottenburg, Berlin; Kunsthaus, Zurich, 1988-1989, no. 55.
- Kouwenhoven, John A. Partners in Banking: An Historical Portrait of a Great Private Bank, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., 1818-1968. Garden City, New York, 1968: 151.
- Gustafson, Eleanor H. "Museum accessions." Antiques 116 (December 1979): 1286, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 183, repro.
- La Pintura de Los Estados Unidos de Museos de la Cuidad de Washington, Exh. cat. Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, 1980: 86.
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: 12, 15, 72, no. 17, color repro.
- Southgate, M. Therese. "The Cover: Eastman Johnson, The Brown Family." Journal of the American Medical Association 245, no. 4 (23 January 1981): cover, 349, color repro.
- Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: 150-151, color repro. 156.
- Brown, Milton W. One Hundred Masterpieces of American Painting from Public Collections in Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C., 1983: 90, color repro. 91.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 557, no. 847, color repro.
- Lubin, David M. Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James. New Haven, 1985: 117, repro. 118.
- Bilder aus der Neuen Welt: Amerikanische Malerei des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts. Exh. cat. Orangerie des Schlosses Charlottenburg, Berlin; Kunsthaus, Zurich. Berlin, 1988: no. 55.
- Clark, Henry Nichols Blake. Francis W. Edmonds: American Master in the Dutch Tradition. Exh. cat. Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; New-York Historical Society. Washington, D.C., 1988: 104, repro. 105.
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 18, 82, no. 18, color repro.
- Simpson, Marc, Sally Mills, and Jennfier Saville. The American Canvas: Paintings from the Collection of The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. New York, 1989: 112.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 213, repro.
- Simpson, Marc, with the assistance of Patricia Junker. The Rockefeller Collection of American Art. Exh. cat. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1994: 177.
- Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 376-382, color repro.
The support is a single sheet of paper. A second, narrow band of paper (4 cm wide) added at the top edge was probably part of the artist's original intention. Both pieces have been lined to fabric. An extremely thin, cream-colored priming layer covers the paper and is occasionally visible in the background. Extensive underdrawing, probably pencil but with a few lines in a liquid medium, is also visible throughout, including perspective lines for the carpet and fireplace and details such as the strapwork on the walls. Infrared reflectography and x-radiography indicate slight adjustments to the figures of the man and child. Paint was generally applied thinly, with a greater degree of finish to the figures than the background. With the exception of the fireplace flames and the occasional highlights on metal surfaces, there is little impasto. In 1978, prior to acquisition, discolored varnish was removed and the painting was restored. Several small paint losses, particularly on and around the figure of the man, have been inpainted. The varnish has not discolored.