Old Pennsylvania Farm in Winter

Media - 1964.1.37 - SAAM-1964.1.37_1 - 61209
Copied Arthur E. Cederquist, Old Pennsylvania Farm in Winter, 1934, oil on canvas, 30 1840 18 in. (76.5102.0 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1964.1.37

Artwork Details

Old Pennsylvania Farm in Winter
Not on view
30 1840 18 in. (76.5102.0 cm.)
Credit Line
Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • New Deal — Public Works of Art Project — New York City
  • Landscape — season — winter
  • Landscape — road
  • Landscape — Pennsylvania
Object Number

Artwork Description

Snow has blanketed this Pennsylvania farm, but Arthur Cederquist's painting shows that the farmer is not cut off from the world. A prominent row of poles carries telephone service and possibly also the relative luxury of electric power as well. Only about a quarter of Pennsylvania's farms had electricity during the early nineteen thirties, but this was far above the national average of ten percent of farms that were electrified. Railroad tracks run in the foreground. A car, which has recently driven down the snowy farm lane leaving tire tracks, is parked by the farmhouse. Cederquist was clearly proud of the modern technology serving the old but solid wooden farm buildings.

Either train or car would have brought Cederquist from his home in New York back to Pennsylvania, where he was born. Like many of the artists involved in the Public Works of Art Project, Cederquist studied art and kept a home base in New York, but his art featured his birthplace. His three paintings for the PWAP were all set in rural Pennsylvania.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.