In this work by Horace Pippin, a woman does her needlework and keeps watch over the baby on a fur rug at her feet

Horace Pippin

American, 1888–1946

Six O’Clock, 1940

Oil on canvas

25 x 28 inches

Signed and dated lower right

Six O’Clock is the earliest example of the domestic interior as subject for Pippin—a theme the artist was to revisit in several other works. These scenes of family members engaged in daily activities, such as eating breakfast, playing dominoes, and saying prayers are all set in a single multipurpose room. The interiors are furnished in similar ways, always with a wood stove, plastered walls, and typically with bright-colored rugs. Most have a shelf on which sits a clock showing the time.

Here, the time on the clock on the mantle reads six o’clock as a woman does her needlework and keeps watch over the baby on a fur rug at her feet and the steaming teapot over the fire. In all of these scenes, the way in which Pippin paints the household items and how he adds details of cracking plaster, snow in the window panes, or needlework patterns tells something about the subjects of his paintings, imbuing them with character and enlivening these interior worlds.

In this work by Horace Pippin, a woman does her needlework and keeps watch over the baby on a fur rug at her feet