...And the Home of the Brave

An abstracted depiction of a large brick building with pained windows and two large black water tanks on top. A stoplight with the number 72 is in the foreground.

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  • An abstracted depiction of a large brick building with pained windows and two large black water tanks on top. A stoplight with the number 72 is in the foreground.

Date:

1931

Artist:

Charles Demuth
American, 1883–1935

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.

On View

American Art, Gallery 265

Artist

Charles Demuth

Title

...And the Home of the Brave

Origin

United States

Date

1931

Medium

Oil and graphite on fiber board

Dimensions

74.8 × 59.7 cm (29 1/2 × 23 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Alfred Stieglitz Collection, gift of Georgia O'Keeffe

Reference Number

1948.650

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 .

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