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Look Down That Road

1942 Charles Pollock Born: Denver, Colorado 1902 Died: Paris, France 1988 oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard 38 x 48 in. (96.4 x 122.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution © 1942 Charles Pollock Archives 1975.94.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 36B

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Look Down That Road
from American Art staff

Luce Center Label

In this painting a black man sits on a suitcase, pondering a future that lies around a bend in the road and cannot be seen. The turbulent sky echoes the man’s loneliness, as if he has already traveled far from home. Charles Pollock painted this image during the Second World War, and it evokes the turmoil experienced by many men as they left their homes and families to join the war effort. Pollock likely took the title from “Look Down that Lonesome Road,” an African American folk song recorded by Alan Lomax during the Depression years. The style of Pollock’s painting reflects his years as a student of Thomas Hart Benton, who along with Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry formed the “Holy Trinity” of American scene painters in the 1930s.


Ethnic - African-American

Figure male

Landscape - road


paint - oil

fabric - canvas