The American Scene

  • J. Fred Woell, The American Scene, 1988, silver, copper, steel, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © 1989, J. Fred Woell, Gift of Eleanor T. and Samuel J. Rosenfeld, 1991.114

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In The American Scene, Fred Woell plays on ideas of the sacred and the secular, contrasting a portrait of Colonel Sanders with a coin portrait of Abraham Lincoln and a fragment of a Civil War bullet. The phrase "Our Lady of the Highway Pray for Us" evokes the restlessness of the American people. Although the different parts of this work initially appear to be unconnected, Woell chose his icons carefully. After all, Lincoln is revered as a leader and healer of our nation and Kentucky was his birth state, long before "Colonel Sanders."

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"My work is about striving and survival. The pieces and parts I fuse into the assemblages add up to stories about what we live by and what we disregard in our wake towards achieving pleasure and fulfilling goals." J. Fred Woell
The American Scene
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Not on view.
1 3/8 x 1 7/8 x 1/2 in. (4.1 x 4.7 x 1.3 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Eleanor T. and Samuel J. Rosenfeld

  • Figure group
  • Occupation – military – soldier
  • Portrait male – Sanders, Colonel
Object Number
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