This work by Jack Steele shows an industrial landscape with railroads

Jack Steele

American, 1919-2003

Ann Arbor, c. 1945

Oil on masonite

26 x 36 inches

Signed lower left

A long-time employee of the Ford Motor Company, Jack Steele became intimately involved in the automotive industrialism of the Upper Midwest. Growing up in Detroit, Steele created art heavy with messages of social injustice, always sympathizing with the beleaguered blue-collar workers on the assembly lines of the numerous factories in the Great Lakes region. Steele’s World War II-era canvas, Ann Arbor, clearly expresses the darkness and even the exhaustion in a Midwestern community feeling the effects of a long and all-inclusive war. Painted with an expert understanding of light and shadow, Ann Arbor presents a haunting image of urban reality that was in line with those created by other Regionalist artists working in American cities. Steele and his contemporaries often projected mixed emotions about urbanization. On the one hand, factories provided much-needed income for hundreds, if not thousands of desperate workers; on the other hand, they somewhat scarred the once pristine face of each city with smokestacks, cranes, and other emblems of “progress.”

This work by Jack Steele shows an industrial landscape with railroads