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Deserted Landscape

1937 Malcolm Roberts Born: Seattle, Washington 1913 Died: Seattle, Washington 1990 tempera on fiberboard 24 x 30 in. (61.0 x 76.2 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from General Services Administration 1971.447.77 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 38B


Luce Center Label

Malcolm Roberts painted several landscapes inspired by discarded objects washed up on Seattle’s beaches. Here, a piece of driftwood shaped like a woman’s pelvis balances delicately on a pedestal like a valuable piece of sculpture. In the background, looming constructions rise up from the sand and a rocking chair sits in the dim moonlight, as if somebody has just left the scene. Roberts placed apparently random objects together against a dark sky to evoke the immediate aftermath of some unknown, sinister event.

Keywords

Landscape - plain

Modern art movement - other - surreal

New Deal - Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project - Washington State

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas