Object Image

Train in Motion

Hugo Robus created Train in Motion toward the end of his painting career, shortly before he devoted all of his time to sculpture. He was fascinated by the futurist painters, who emphasized the speed and power of modern machinery, but claimed not to be "initiated into their plane of intelligence" when he tried to understand the movement's principles (Tarbell, Hugo Robus, 1885-1964, 1980). The repeated shapes and blurred colors in this painting express a sense of movement, as if we are watching the landscape sweep past the window of a speeding train. The bright colors and fragmented shapes appear like a kaleidoscope, suggesting that this image is just one of an infinite number of possibilities.

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Ca. 1920
Oil on canvas mounted on fiberglass
66.8 x 81.5cm
1978.153.2
Image and text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2024

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