About the Object
Two years after his visit to the Curtiss-Wright factory, Crawford was still mining his thrilling experience there, now viewed through the lens of the atomic bomb test. The shapes within the painting, retain the “fertilizing residue” of Crawford’s initial experience at the plant, suggesting forms that—though highly abstract—are almost recognizable after viewing his photographs and drawings.
In December 1944, Crawford received a commission from Burton Tremaine, president and chairman of the Miller Lighting Company, to commemorate the installation of nine miles of continuous fluorescent lighting in the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Plant in Buffalo, New York. Crawford was given special permission to photograph inside the plant, taking a least a dozen pictures and creating dozens of drawings, resulting in at least 11 related paintings.
By descent to the Artist’s son, John C. Crawford, New York;
New York Whitney Museum of American Art. Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, December 6, 1947-January 25, 1948, cat. no. 27.
New York. Downtown Gallery, Ralston Crawford. January 31-February 18, 1950, cat. no. 1.
Baton Rouge. Louisiana State University Art Gallery. Ralston Crawford. February 24-March 17, 1950, cat. no. 6.
Cincinnati. Contemporary Arts Center. Ralston Crawford, 1971. 1971.
New York. Robert Miller Gallery. Ralston Crawford, November 22-December 30, 1983.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. Ralston Crawford. October 3, 1985-February 2, 1986, pp. 74-75, 158, ill. p. 74, fig. 69.
New York. Robert Miller Gallery. Ralston Crawford: An Exhibition of Abstract Works in Painting, Photograph and Drawing. December 1, 1987-January 2, 1988, ill.
New York. Hirschl & Adler Galleries. Ralston Crawford: Images of War. March 19-April 24, 1993, pp. 6, 33, ill. p. 24, cat. no. 16.
New York. DC Moore Gallery. A Tribute to Grace Borgenicht Gallery: The 1950s: The First Decade. February 4-March 1, 1997.
New York. Salander O’Reilly Galleries. Ralston Crawford (1906-1978): A Retrospective. May 3-26, 2001, ill. on cover and pl. 15.
Tulsa. Philbrook Museum of Art. Making Modern America. February 10-May 26, 2019.
Chadds Ford, PA. Brandywine River Museum of Art. Ralston Crawford: Air + Space + War (June 19-September 1, 2021); Dayton, OH. Dayton Art Institute (October 30, 2021-January 23, 2022).
Freeman, Richard B. Ralston Crawford. University of Alabama Press, 1953, p. 45, no. 47.4.
Agee, William C. Ralston Crawford. Pasadena, CA: Twelve Tree Press, 1983, p. 11, ill. pl. 29.
“Album: Ralston Crawford,” Arts Magazine 57 (December 1983). p. 48, ill.
Shinn, Dorothy. “The Solitary Course of Ralston Crawford,” Akron Beacon Journal, August 24, 1986, p. 19, ill.
Dorfman, John. “Air Power,” Art & Antiques, June 2021, ill. p. 26.