Monday, September 14

Arnold Ness Klagstad: Archer Daniels Midland Elevator, 1934

Archer Daniels Midland Elevator, 1934
"Cars and trains, industry and agriculture, trees and smokestacks meet in this busy image of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Local painter Arnold Klagstad gently guided the viewer’s eye into the painting along a curving stretch of road with a car and two pedestrians to lead the way past a brick house, trees, and green lawns. Two white railroad crossing signs signal an abrupt transition to the confusing complex of commercial structures crowded along the railroad tracks. Among the many buildings is the Harris Machinery Company at the far right, announced by a bold black and white sign, while a towering Archer Daniels Midland grain elevator dominates the view. The density of businesses may suggest a thriving economy, but in fact drought and low farm prices made for hard times in 1930s Minnesota. The juxtapositions of greenery with steel, and agricultural structures with manufacturing signal the tensions among farmers, business owners, and unions that led to violent confrontations in the streets of Minneapolis in 1934."
Smithsonian American Art Museum