Industry

  • Arthur Durston, Industry, 1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1964.1.92

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At the worst point of the Great Depression, more than fifteen million American workers were unemployed. Many who continued to work struggled to support themselves and their families. In Industry, Arthur Durston painted three dispirited women in the foreground walking away from the factories, while hunched, shirtless men toil in the background. The rooftops, pipes, towering chimney stacks, and smoke plumes appear to blend together to form one giant machine, of which the distant workers are just parts. The repetition of the women, men, and smokestacks (all are in groups of three) suggest the monotony of daily life. A newborn baby held by the most prominent woman symbolizes a hope for a better future and the ability of Americans to work through the Depression, but also a futility because the child will probably grow up to join the masses laboring in the factories.

Title
Industry
Artist
Date
1934
Location
Dimensions
50 x 40 in. (127.0 x 101.6 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Architecture Exterior – domestic – house
  • New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – California
  • Occupation – industry
  • Architecture Exterior – industry – factory
  • Cityscape
  • Figure group – female and child
Object Number
1964.1.92
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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