About this artwork
Charles Demuth’s still lifes and architectural studies display astonishing technical skill and testify to the refinement with which he manipulated abstract design. In his paintings of the early 1930s, the artist often interpreted structures in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Obviously not a literal representation of that location , . . . And the Home of the Brave—with its compressed and discontinuous space, emphasis on two- dimensional patterns, and rearrangement of observed facts into a new pictorial reality—is derived from Cubism. The accent on American urban and commercial forms acknowledges Demuth’s roots: specifically, the double water towers at the apex of the composition are adapted from those atop a Lancaster cigar factory, while the number 72 at the lower edge of the painting refers to a state highway—the Manheim Pike—running north from town.
Demuth derived the title from the last line of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which was adopted as the national anthem in 1931, the year in which he executed the painting. The ambiguity suggested by the title is characteristic of the artist’s ironic temperament. Like other American artists and intellectuals of the early twentieth century, he was simultaneously attracted to the vitality of contemporary civilization and the beauty and power of the machine, and conflicted about the inhuman aspects and utilitarian coarseness of the expanding industrial landscape of the United States.
- Charles Demuth
- ...And the Home of the Brave
- United States
- Oil and graphite on fiber board
- 74.8 × 59.7 cm (29 1/2 × 23 1/2 in.)
- Alfred Stieglitz Collection, gift of Georgia O'Keeffe