The Signing of the Declaration of Independence, 1840

Edward Hicks

Oil on Canvas

 47 1/2 X 74 inches

My dear fellow Americans,

Please join me in wishing a Happy 247th Birthday to our beloved and truly exceptional Country!

This special 4th of July message features Jack Warner's purchase of "The Declaration of Independence" by Edward Hicks, one of Jack's (and America's) favorite primitive, or "folk," artists of the early 19th Century. 

It is my hope that this painting will inspire readers to reflect on the history and importance of this event in creating the 1st and only Nation in the world "conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." It is the ideals and values expressed in this revolutionary document that have inspired us over the past 247 years to create a more just and equitable society, to put an end to slavery and other forms of systemic prejudice and racism.... to continue the work needed to create a "more perfect union."  

I am often saddened to think of how divided we have become as Americans when our divisions can be so easily resolved. Our perspective in looking at America has become as one of two viewpoints when looking at the same glass of the glass "half full" or "half empty?" It is the same glass of water, but one viewpoint is optimistic, and the other is pessimistic. Will America continue to strive to live up to our high ideals, or is she condemned to failure? Let's examine our history and choose to see the progress that America has made. Let's retain the optimism and patriotism required to continue to progress to fill the glass with more freedom, more justice, and more equity. As our Founders did, reflected in this painting, let us continue with courage to commit to America "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."


Susan G. Warner

Chair, Warner Foundation

Click Here to Learn More About the History in the Painting prepared by historian Gregory Balan

More about Edward Hicks

Most famous for his many versions of "Peaceable Kingdom," (above) which celebrated William Penn's treaty with the Pennsylvania Indians, Hicks is also well known for his many historical paintings of George Washington and important events of the American Revolution. Due to his Quaker beliefs, the subject matter of his paintings was limited to moral or religious 

Trained as an early 19th Century coach and sign painter, his skill as an "easel painter", was often improved by copying historical paintings of other accomplished artists of the time, such as the "Signing of the Declaration of Independence" by John Trumbull (1756-1843).

Click here to visit the National Gallery of Art's biography of Edward Hicks.

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