Town Square

Media - 1985.65.20 - SAAM-1985.65.20_1 - 53906
Copied O. Louis Guglielmi, Town Square, ca. 1936-1939, oil on canvas, 30 1836 18 in. (76.591.7 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, 1985.65.20

Artwork Details

Town Square
ca. 1936-1939
30 1836 18 in. (76.591.7 cm.)
back upper center in ink: "THE SQUARE" frame recto lower center on metal plate incised: WPA FEDERAL ART PROJECT frame verso upper left in crayon: 36-LOT 4 frame verso upper right in crayon: CRATE 3/5 2-054 backing recto upper left in crayon: #2 backing recto upper left in pencil: 11xe1237/BOX -1-
Credit Line
Transfer from the General Services Administration
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Monument — statue
  • Architecture
  • Cityscape — town
  • Object — weapon — cannon
  • Architecture Exterior — commercial — hotel
  • Architecture Exterior — civic — town hall
Object Number

Artwork Description

A single coat thrown over the back of a chair is the only evidence of people or activity in this deserted square. O. Louis Guglielmi painted completely from his imagination, believing that his inner world was just as “real” as the streets and houses outside (Miller and Barr, American Realists and Magic Realists, 1943). Many of his paintings depict families struggling to live through the Depression, but Town Square implies a later, sadder moment when there are no people left. Even the statue gazes downward, as if wondering where all the life has gone.