A generous loan to VMFA from George’s Washington’s Mount Vernon, two paintings by Eastman Johnson depict the crumbling structures at the first president’s plantation where twenty-six African American slaves still lived and worked in 1857. Owned at that time by the president’s great-grandnephew John Augustine Washington, the once-imposing estate on the Potomac River had fallen into great disrepair and Johnson’s paintings emphasize this disintegration that, far from the gaze of family and tourists, loomed ominously over their enslaved occupants.