Back of the Yards

  • Mitchell Siporin, Back of the Yards, ca. 1937, pencil on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from General Services Administration, 1971.447.80

Exhibition Label
The yards in this title refer to the Union Stock Yards near a residential neighborhood in Chicago. Siporin’s father was a union organizer, and the artist was especially sensitive to the plight of the homeless and dispossessed during the Great Depression. The mother, father, and child form a compositional unit in the center, while the man in a trench coat is a menacing figure. In the painting based on this drawing, the artist eliminated the man in the coat, focusing the viewer’s attention on the family.

Graphic Masters II: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2009

Back of the Yards
ca. 1937
Not on view
sheet: 20 5/8 x 23 3/4 in. (52.4 x 60.3 cm) irregular
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from General Services Administration

Mediums Description
pencil on paper
  • Ethnic – Polish
  • New Deal – Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project – Illinois
  • Architecture Exterior – industry – storage tank
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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