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Bright Light at Russell's Corners

1946 George Ault Born: Cleveland, Ohio 1891 Died: Woodstock, New York 1948 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 25 in. (49.9 x 63.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Lawrence 1976.121 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

The radiant light at Russell’s Corners forms the center of the mysterious world Ault painted there. His wife Louise chose a quotation from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to describe her husband: “Unless there be chaos within, no dancing star is born.”

To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America, 2011

Luce Center Label

George Ault made a series of paintings of Russell's Corners in Woodstock, New York. These images of lonely farm buildings symbolized traditional farm life and reflected Ault's desire to isolate himself from others (Louise Ault, Artist in Woodstock, 1978). He often incorporated religious imagery into his works, and here, a single bright light marks the center of a cross formed by the power lines (Lubowsky, George Ault, 1988). But the bleak landscape and vast expanse of darkness threaten to overwhelm, and this painting perhaps reflects the artist's depressed state of mind.


Architecture Exterior - domestic - house

Architecture Exterior - farm - barn

Architecture Exterior - science - power lines

Landscape - New York - Woodstock

Landscape - road

Landscape - time - night


paint - oil

fabric - canvas