Train in Motion

Media - 1978.153.2 - SAAM-1978.153.2_1 - 63984
Copied Hugo Robus, Train in Motion, ca. 1920, oil on canvas mounted on fiberglass, 26 1432 18 in. (66.881.5 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Robus, Jr., 1978.153.2

Artwork Details

Train in Motion
ca. 1920
26 1432 18 in. (66.881.5 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Robus, Jr.
Mediums Description
oil on canvas mounted on fiberglass
  • Travel — land — train
  • Abstract
Object Number

Artwork Description

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.

Luce Object Quote

“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