Back of the Yards

  • Mitchell Siporin, Back of the Yards, 1938, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from General Services Administration, 1971.447.83

Luce Center Label

This image of a downtrodden family making their way through a landscape that combines urban and rural elements has the haunting quality of a nightmare. It emphasizes the misery that workers across the country experienced during the Great Depression. Mitchell Siporin was sympathetic to these workers and felt a connection with them as a Jewish man whose family had suffered and been forced to leave their homeland. He once said: “I have known depression and war and lived in other countries than my own. Everything I have seen and felt I have [hoped would] . . .

Title
Back of the Yards
Artist
Date
1938
On View
Dimensions
24 1/8 x 36 1/8 in. (61.3 x 91.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from General Services Administration

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • New Deal – Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project – Illinois
  • Architecture Exterior – industry – railroad yard
  • Architecture Exterior – domestic – house
  • Figure group – family
  • Occupation – industry – railroad
Object Number
1971.447.83
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

More Artworks from the Collection

1961
oil on canvas
ca. 1950-1960
oil on canvas
1937
oil and casein on canvas