Presenting over 50 works by a broad cross-section of major artists, this new volume captures the huge and lasting impact of the railroad on American through the eyes of the artists who witnessed its expansion.
All Aboard is a ground-breaking book. Presented thematically the authors cover the environmental impact of the railroad both on the flora and fauna, and on the social landscape; the role of the railroad on the western expansion of the USA, and the lasting and hugely detrimental impact of this on Native American populations. A wide array of comparative images includes archival and historic views, other related artworks and ephemera, as well as a railroad map.
In the early years of the nineteenth century artists including Thomas Cole and George Inness, of the Hudson River School, feared the impact of the railroad on the natural landscape; later artists were inspired by the newly opened-up landscapes of the West, including Albert Bierstadt and Theodore Kaufmann; others like Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Reginald Marsh, George Bellows, and John Sloan, were fascinated by movement of freight and people across the railroad network. Ben Shahn, Tomas Hart Benton, and Joe Jones’s portrayals of railroad workers become emblems of the very backbone of America on which the country’s social and industrial expansion was built.
Such industrial expansion is captured in the dramatic views of Pittsburgh and mid-west industry in paintings by Otto Kuhler, George Luks, and Charles Sheeler. And finally, there are a raft of artists for whom the railroad was both at the heart of a great new machine age, celebrated in paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Joseph Stella, and Charles Goeller, but also the creator of a more lonely and alienated urban industrial world, most strongly captured in Edward Hopper’s railroad landscapes.
Thomas Busciglio-Ritter is Richard and Mary Holland Assistant Curator of American Western Art, Joslyn Art Museum.
Ellen Daugherty is assistant curator, Dixon Gallery and Gardens.
Thomas Denenberg is the director of the Shelburne Museum.
Julie Pierotti is Martha R. Robinson Curator, Dixon Gallery and Gardens.
Kevin Sharp is Linda W. and S. Herbert Rhea Director, Dixon Gallery and Gardens.
Table of Contents
- Foreword by Thomas Denenberg, Kevin Sharp, and Jack F. Becker
- Railroad Map
- Smoke in the Wilderness: American Landscape Painting and the Railroad (1840–1900) by Thomas Busciglio-Ritter
- Industry and Urbanization: The Railroad and American Art in the Progressive Era by Julie Pierotti
- The Lonely Rail by Kevin Sharp
- Passengers All: People on the Train in American Art, 1900-1950 by Thomas Denenberg
- Exhibition Checklist
- Railroad Chronology by Ellen Daugherty
- Photo credits