Swiss-born Ferdinand Brader made his living as an itinerant artist, drawing pictures of Pennsylvania and Ohio farms in the 1880s and '90s in exchange for room and board. One of his drawings sold for $62,250 at auction, which would buy a considerable amount of room and board.
Brader’s meticulous graphite pencil representations of family farms in this area are both realistic and idealistic.I suppose I should mention the second part of the story, in case there are any genealogists reading this. No one knows what became of Brader. The article says that he was born in 1833 in Switzerland, and "spent at least some time at the former Portage County Infirmary, where he suffered from mental or physical problems, or both." No death record or gravestone has been found. Anyone care to take up the search?
Men, women and children plow fields on horseback. Others tend to crops of vegetables and bales of hay. Brader also was known to draw himself (a la Alfred Hitchcock later) into his pictures, talking to the farm owner, sitting under a tree, or wherever else he might fit in. [Link]