Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5

Twentieth Century Ruin

A work made of oil on canvas.

Image actions

  • A work made of oil on canvas.

Date:

1932

Artist:

Alexander Brook (American, 1898–1980)

About this artwork

Alexander Brook spotted this shell of a house—its yard overgrown with weeds—near his home in rural Westchester County, New York. Pictured under stormy skies, and with his daughter Biddy sitting by herself on a low stone fence, the dilapidated scene projects an air of melancholy. Although Brook later referred to the canvas as a “portrait” of a house, the title, Twentieth Century Ruin, frames the work in a different light. Painted at the height of the Great Depression, the composition can be understood as representing the economic decline and social decay wrought by this traumatic moment in United States history.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of the Americas

Artist

Alexander Brook

Title

Twentieth Century Ruin

Place

United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

1932

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

65.4 × 91.9 cm (25 3/4 × 35 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Friends of American Art Collection

Reference Number

1938.16

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share