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Strange Worlds

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Todros Geller
American, born Russia (now Ukraine), 1889–1949

About this artwork

In Strange Worlds, the Ukrainian-born Jewish artist Todros Geller reflected on the complex blending of old world traditions and modern culture that characterized Chicago—what he termed the collision of many “strange worlds.” The painting depicts a traditionally dressed Jewish man staring guardedly out at the viewer from beneath the diagonal steel stairway of a Chicago “L” station. In the background, pedestrians and vehicles stream past, rendered by Geller in a swirling, modernist array of circles. The angular planes that fracture the space of the painting further reveal Geller’s interest in modern pictorial construction. Yet the old world vendor stands immobile, isolated from the fast-paced city that swirls around him, suggesting his resistance to modernity and change. This subject was of great significance to Geller, who also illustrated a sociological study focused on the challenges of assimilation faced by Chicago’s Jewish community.

On View

Arts of the Americas, Gallery 263


Todros Geller


Strange Worlds


United States




Oil on canvas


Signed lower left: TODROS / GELLER.


71.8 × 66.4 cm (28 1/4 × 26 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Leon Garland Foundation

Reference Number


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.


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