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My Egypt


Charles Demuth, My Egypt, 1927. Oil on fiberboard, 35 3/4 × 30 in. (90.8 × 76.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney  31.172
During the first decades of the twentieth century, new skyscrapers and factories were constructed across the United States. These buildings became a frequent subject for artists who saw them as symbols of invention, modern technology, and America’s expanding wealth. This painting portrays the concrete grain storage elevators that were constructed in 1919 in Charles Demuth’s hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Crossed and fragmented by rays of light that appear as diagonal lines, the industrial-scale grain elevators tower above neighboring buildings, making the roofs and chimneys at the bottom of the painting seem really small and humble.
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