Look Down That Road

Media - 1975.94.2 - SAAM-1975.94.2_1 - 50940
Copied Charles Pollock, Look Down That Road, 1942, oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard, 3848 in. (96.4122.0 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1975.94.2, © 1942 Charles Pollock Archives

Artwork Details

Look Down That Road
3848 in. (96.4122.0 cm.)
lower right in oil: C Pollock/1942
© 1942 Charles Pollock Archives
Credit Line
Transfer from the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Mediums Description
oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard
  • Figure
  • Figure male
  • Landscape — road
  • African American
Object Number

Artwork Description

In this painting a black man sits on a suitcase, pondering a future that lies around a bend in the road and cannot be seen. The turbulent sky echoes the man’s loneliness, as if he has already traveled far from home. Charles Pollock painted this image during the Second World War, and it evokes the turmoil experienced by many men as they left their homes and families to join the war effort. Pollock likely took the title from “Look Down that Lonesome Road,” an African American folk song recorded by Alan Lomax during the Depression years. The style of Pollock’s painting reflects his years as a student of Thomas Hart Benton, who along with Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry formed the “Holy Trinity” of American scene painters in the 1930s.