Fortune magazine sent Crawford on assignment by to witness and document the atomic bomb Test Able at Bikni Atoll on July 1, 1946. Crawford created several works based on the wreckage of the U.S.S. Nevada, “the bulls-eye ship” for Test Able, which had been painted red-orange for high visibility. The bomb missed the target point, resulting in much less destruction than anticipated. The U.S.S. Nevada was damaged but not destroyed and would also survive the underwater detonation of Test Baker.
In addition to this painting, which was reproduced in the December 1946 issue of Fortune, Crawford created at least two related ink studies and a screenprint, Red and Black (U.S.S. Nevada), 1949. One of these prints, in which Crawford opted for a bright red over the red-orange of the paintings, is in the collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
[Downtown Gallery, New York, NY];
John J. Carney, New York, NY;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, CA;
[Terry Dintenfass, Inc., New York, NY];
[Vance Jordan Fine Art, New York, NY];
Private Collection, Virginia Beach, VA;
[Alexandre Fine Art, Inc., New York, NY];
New York. Downtown Gallery. Ralston Crawford: Paintings of Operation Crossroads at Bikini, December 3-21, 1946, cat. no, 5.
Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The 142nd Annual Exhibition, January 25-March, 1947.
Minneapolis. The University Gallery, University of Minnesota. Ralston Crawford, April-May, 1949.
Cincinnati. Cincinnati Art Museum. Ralston Crawford, February 16-March 15, 1949, cat. no. 22.
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).
“Bikini,” Fortune, December 1946.
“Abstract Understanding,” Time, January 6, 1947.
Freeman, Richard B. Ralston Crawford. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1953, p. 45, ill. p. 28.