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1942 Patrociño Barela Born: Bisbee, Arizona Died: Cañon, New Mexico 1964 carved and stained pine 11 3/8 x 71 x 1 1/4 in. (28.8 x 180.4 x 3.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the General Services Administration 1985.65.9 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 25B

Luce Center Label

Patrociño Barela brought the rough, “untaught” style of his carvings of saints to these reliefs, which read like storyboards describing the chaotic, violent events leading up to World War II. Like many American artists working in the 1930s, Barela saw the events unfolding in Europe and Asia and saw a new conflict on the horizon. Progression in War tells a story from left to right: from the head-to-head discussion between political leaders, to invasion by air and land, to violent confrontation between individual soldiers. War has a similar progression, and we can see a soldier raising the American flag on a battleground, a man being measured, and military aircraft in the skies.


Allegory - civic - war

Architecture - vehicle - airplane

Figure group

Object - other - flag

State of being - evil - war

New Deal - Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project - New Mexico

sculpture - relief

folk art

wood - pine