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Dust Bowl

1933 Alexandre Hogue Born: Memphis, Missouri 1898 Died: Tulsa, Oklahoma 1994 oil on canvas 24 x 32 5/8 in. (61 x 82.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of International Business Machines Corporation 1969.123 Not currently on view


Gallery Label

The dust storms of the 1930s moved millions of tons of topsoil across America's heartland, wiping out farms and ranches that had stood for generations. Hogue was a young Missouri-born artist just making his reputation when the Depression and Dust Bowl ravaged the communities of the Southern Plains. He saw firsthand the mass exodus of families who packed what the banks had not taken and set out for California, hoping to find a better future. In Dust Bowl angular fence posts and spikes of barbed wire echo the malevolent wedge of blood-red earth obscuring the sky. Below the break in the fence, a single track of a truck tire leads away from the desolate farm, as if the family had just driven away and the dust moved to erase all traces of them.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Research Notes

Read research notes for Dust Bowl. (pdf)

Keywords

Architecture - detail - fence

Architecture - farm - barn

Disaster - drought

Landscape - desert

Landscape - farm

Western

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Alexandre Hogue

Born: Memphis, Missouri 1898 Died: Tulsa, Oklahoma 1994

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Alexandre Hogue

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