Golden Gate Bridge

  • Ray Strong, Golden Gate Bridge, 1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1965.18.50

This panoramic depiction of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction pays tribute to the ambitious feat of engineering required to span the mouth of San Francisco Bay. Artist Ray Strong painted looking north from the San Francisco side to the hills of Marin County, where the first bright orange tower rises. Tugboats and a freighter sailing across the deep blue waters typify the busy shipping that would routinely pass beneath the span. The bridge therefore had to have the highest deck ever built. The two massive concrete structures in the foreground are anchors for the cables supporting the deck. The vast structures on the San Francisco side dwarf the men working around the anchorages and pylons. Strong’s painting, with its intense colors and active brushwork, conveys an infectious optimism. Hundreds of tourists who shared the artist’s excitement came to gaze at this amazing project that continued despite the financial strains of the Great Depression and the disastrous storm that washed away a trestle on Halloween of 1933. It was only fitting that President Franklin Roosevelt chose this painting celebrating the triumph of American engineering to hang in the White House.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label

Golden Gate Bridge
Not on view
44 1871 34 in. (112.0182.3 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Landscape – California – San Francisco
  • Architecture – industry
  • Landscape – mountain
  • New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – California
  • Waterscape – harbor – San Francisco Harbor
  • Architecture – bridge – Golden Gate Bridge
  • Waterscape – boat
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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