Bethlehem Steel Works

Media - 1978.41.1 - SAAM-1978.41.1_1 - 68086
Copied Max Arthur Cohn, Bethlehem Steel Works, 1938, oil on canvas, 2432 in. (61.081.4 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Max Arthur Cohn, 1978.41.1

Artwork Details

Bethlehem Steel Works
2432 in. (61.081.4 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Max Arthur Cohn
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Architecture Exterior — industry — Bethlehem Steel Works
Object Number

Artwork Description

Max Arthur Cohn painted Bethlehem Steel Works in 1938, during the Great Depression and a few short years before America's entry into World War II. The artist depicted one of the massive steel factories owned by Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania. Bethlehem Steel, now defunct, was once one of the largest steel producers in the United States. It produced the steel used in numerous American structural icons, most notably San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. It also built 1,127 ships during World War II. In a letter about the painting, Cohn recalled being arrested in Bethlehem City, Pennsylvania, under suspicion of being a Nazi spy while painting a scene similar to this one in the summer of 1939 (The artist, to Harry Rand, February 20, 1978, The American Art Museum curatorial file).