Robert Riggs, American, 1896–1970. Limestone Kilns, Wyandotte Chemical Company, Michigan, ca. 1947–48. Tempera on panel. 21 3/4 x 26 1/2 inches. Museum purchase with funds from an anonymous donor in honor of Barbara and the late Bruce Mackey, 2011.322


October 5, 2019 - December 30, 2019

Temporary Exhibition Gallery

The development of industry in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries greatly affected artists striving to capture the spirit of the nation by using local subject matter. This exhibition reflects artists’ reactions to the rapid industrial changes, in both straightforward and complex ways. Some artists portrayed these scenes optimistically, such as Robert Riggs and Alexander Levy, who praised the monumentality of the machine. Other artists, such as Arthur Lehmann, portrayed industry in a more critical light, depicting the human and environmental impact as a dark, foreboding presence.

From the Exhibition

  • John Dempsey, American, born 1950. Plant #31, Buick City, Flint, Michigan, 2009–2010. Acrylic on canvas. 117 x 72 inches. Gift of Margo Lakin and John Dempsey, 2018.45

  • Alexander Levy, American, 1881–1947. Stamping Room – Pierce Arrow Factory, ca. 1924. Oil on plywood. 20 x 15 inches. Gift of Pat Glascock and Michael D. Hall, Inlander Collection, 2003.26

  • Edmund Lewandowski, American, 1914–1998. Great Lakes Shipbuilding, 1949. Oil on canvas. 30 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, Inlander Collection, L2003.81