Dust Bowl

Media - 1969.123 - SAAM-1969.123_1 - 67233
Copied Alexandre Hogue, Dust Bowl, 1933, oil on canvas, 2432 58 in. (6182.8 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of International Business Machines Corporation, 1969.123

Artwork Details

Dust Bowl
2432 58 in. (6182.8 cm)
lower left in oil: Alexandre/Hogue
Credit Line
Gift of International Business Machines Corporation
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Landscape
  • Western
  • Landscape — farm
  • Architecture — detail — fence
  • Disaster — drought
  • Landscape — desert
  • Architecture — farm — barn
Object Number
Research Notes

Artwork Description

The dust storms of the 1930s moved millions of tons of topsoil across America's heartland, wiping out farms and ranches that had stood for generations. Hogue was a young Missouri-born artist just making his reputation when the Depression and Dust Bowl ravaged the communities of the Southern Plains. He saw firsthand the mass exodus of families who packed what the banks had not taken and set out for California, hoping to find a better future. In Dust Bowl angular fence posts and spikes of barbed wire echo the malevolent wedge of blood-red earth obscuring the sky. Below the break in the fence, a single track of a truck tire leads away from the desolate farm, as if the family had just driven away and the dust moved to erase all traces of them.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006