In King of Prussia, Loda’s paintings are the featured art in one of our dining rooms and help us detail the role of agriculture during the American Revolution and in the formation of our country. We commissioned Loda, whose ancestors were awarded some of Pennsylvania’s original farmland, to cover our walls with images representing our Founding Farmers and their contributions to our nation. Loda did extensive research for this project, including working with the head gardeners and historians at Mount Vernon and Monticello.
The portrait of Thomas Jefferson honors our third president, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and one of our country’s Founding Farmers. Jefferson is dressed in field clothes, hands on a plow, harvesting the fruits and vegetables of his labor and the land. His produce basket is filled with a farmer’s bounty: Marseilles figs, purple calabash tomatoes, spaghetti squash, eggplant, and peppers. The additional smaller paintings on this wall feature more of Jefferson’s favorite produce, including sweet potatoes for his famous sweet potato biscuits. They point to the role of agriculture and farming in gaining independence from the British monarchy. The Founding Farmers were the original seeds of American agriculture, and the United States is a country founded on the self-sufficiency farming provides.
On the opposite wall is a portrait of the studious Benjamin Franklin, seen seated at a desk surrounded by his correspondence. In his hand is an American wild turkey feather quill pen, the bird he wanted as the nation’s icon. On his desk is a letter to his friend and colleague Jefferson, representing their ongoing conversations about the importance of sustainable agriculture to the country’s independence and future. Another letter, on his left, to the famous American botanist John Bartram, details the value of an innovative Chinese food product made from soybeans: tofu. Wheat is seen in the foreground, sugar in a bottle on the right, and soybeans in Franklin’s hand.
Loda has created four other paintings on Franklin’s wall that include produce he loved, such as Scotch cabbage, and produce he thought would help make America a world power, such as corn and soybeans. All of these paintings together tell the stories of so many of our founding fathers and mothers who strategically grew crops, experimented with seeds they traded with plant enthusiasts across the globe, and researched new possibilities for food sources. These efforts are the bedrock of our nation to this day.
Our sibling restaurant, Farmers & Distillers, we commissioned Loda to paint a portrait of a contemporary and hip Young George Washington. Affectionately called “Georgie with a Man Bun,” this portrait has created quite a stir with guests and the media.
Nathan Loda, a Vienna, VA native, has created artwork for several of our restaurants, including the a contemporary take on our first president, Young Washington, with a man bun at Farmers & Distillers and the striking Headless Horse host stand artwork found at Founding Farmers Tysons.
Loda received his MFA from George Mason University in 2015 and a BFA in painting from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV in 2011. He is an adjunct painting and drawing professor at George Mason University and is represented by the Adah Rose Gallery in Kensington, MD. His studio work reflects his passion for history, storytelling, and the outdoors.