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The Illusion of the American Frontier

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Edward S. Curtis
An Oasis in the Badlands (detail), 1905
Photography, gelatin silver. 15.2 x 20.2 cm
Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.
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Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

David Bomberg
Bargee (Mother and Child)
Oil on canvas
91.5 x 71 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Numero de inventario
INV. Nr. 471 (1980.1)

More information about this work

Like the work of many of his contemporaries , Bomberg’s painting underwent a transformation during the years immediately after the Great War. The precise, abstract geometry of his early works gave way to a more dynamic, agitated structure that hinted at certain unrest. This new style is particularly apparent in a series devoted to the bargees of London’s canals, which was shown at the Adelphi Gallery in London and in the London Group Exhibition of 1919.

The sketchy , impastoed technique and dull palette of the Bargee (Mother and Child) belonging to the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection prefigures the Expressionistic style of his final period, although the rigid , geometrised composition is closer to his pre-war abstract works. The bird’s eye view of the woman with a baby on her lap, in a stiff pose as if both were imprisoned on the barge, and the deep melancholy he succeeds in conveying attest to Bomberg’s interest in underprivileged members of society.

Paloma Alarcó

© 2009 Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Paseo del Prado 8, 28014 Madrid, España

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