Hugo Robus created Train in Motion toward the end of his painting career, shortly before he devoted all of his time to sculpture. He was fascinated by the futurist painters, who emphasized the speed and power of modern machinery, but claimed not to be “initiated into their plane of intelligence” when he tried to understand the movement’s principles (Tarbell, Hugo Robus, 1885–1964, 1980). The repeated shapes and blurred colors in this painting express a sense of movement, as if we are watching the landscape sweep past the window of a speeding train. The bright colors and fragmented shapes appear like a kaleidoscope, suggesting that this image is just one of an infinite number of possibilities.
“I [am] interested not in what the eye records but in what our sensitivities feel.” Robus, “Sculptor as Self Critic,” reprinted in Tarbell, Hugo Robus, 1885–1964, 1980
Train in Motion
- ca. 1920
- 26 1⁄4 x 32 1⁄8 in. (66.8 x 81.5 cm)
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Robus, Jr.
- Mediums Description
- oil on canvas mounted on fiberglass
- Travel – land – train
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI