WPA Machinist

Artist:Alton Tobey
Medium:Oil on Canvas
Dimensions:Sight Size 25" x 32" Framed 28 1/2" x 36 1/2"
Original Use:WPA Art
Price:S O L D
Above: Detail
Above: The artist's signature and date L.L.

Featuring a Depression-era machinist at work creating a Pratt & Whitney aircraft engine, this 1940 artwork by WPA artist Alton Tobey combines the unusual muted palate and composition of the regionalist movement with the dystopian feel of the surrealists. This powerful oil on canvas was created for the East Hartford Pratt & Whitney plant, and presents a deeply moving picture of industrialism in the lead up to World War II.

Above: Full view of oil on canvas
Above: Verso view
Above: In original rough WPA aesthetic frame

The Connecticut based artist Alton Tobey began his career in the midst of the Depression and worked as an active WPA artist in the Federal Art Project, creating murals throughout Connecticut. His work can be seen in the East Hartford, CT post office, and the Hartford Library. Later in his career the artist returned to mural work, creating pieces for the Smithsonian Institute and Douglas MacArthur memorial. Other highlights of Tobey's career include a series of profound illustrations recounting the saga of humanity from the Neolithic period to the 20th century called "The Epic of Man," which he created on commission for "Life Magazine" where he also worked as a cover illustrator.

A list of the artists commissions and career:

Yale School of Fine Arts, B.F.A. & M.F.A.

Taught at:
Yale School of Fine Arts
City College, New York City
92nd St. YM-YWHA, New York City

Hudson River Contemporary Artists - President Emeritus
National Society of Mural Painters - President Emeritus
Artists Equity of New York - President Emeritus
Mamaroneck Artists Guild - President Emeritus
International Arts Association - Past Vice-President

League of Present Day Artists
Fine Arts Federation
American Society of Contemporary Artists
Metropolitan Arts Association
Who Was Who in American Art


Smithsonian Amer. Art Museum; Wash, DC
Ntnl. Mus. Amer. Illustration; Newport, RI
Wadsworth Athenaeum; Hartford CT
Norfolk Museum; Norfolk, VA
Museum of the City of NY; NYC
NY Historical Society; NY
Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum; NYC
West Point Museum; West Point, NY
MacArthur Memorial; Norfolk, VA
Jewish Museum; NYC
Met Opera Museum; Lincoln Center, NYC
Hillandale Museum; Chadds Ford, PA
Goshen Hall of Fame; Goshen, NY


PWA Mural Award, 1939
Westchester Society Merit Award
Edwin Abby Mural Award, 1965
Grumbacher Awards, 1982, 1985
Westchester Council for the Arts, 1987
Lindner Memorial Award, 1992


Tazewell Museum; Tazewell, VA
16 Chief Justices; St. Paul, MN
Signing of the Constitution; St. Paul, MN
Roots of Thomasville; Thomasville, GA
Intrepid Sea, Air, Space; New York, NY
Smithsonian Museum (2); Washington, DC
California Bank, Rockefeller Center; NYC
American Bureau of Shipping; NYC
Council on Fitness; Washington, DC
U.S. Post Office; East Hartford, CT
MacArthur Memorial, (6); Norfolk, VA
Falstaff Mural; St. Louis, MO
Three Murals for Saudi Arabia; Jidda, SA
History of Transportation; Hartford, CT
Project 400 (14 Murals); Chadds Ford, PA
Evyan Perfumes/Cheseborough; NYC
Campbell Avenue Library; E. Hartford, CT
Eastchester Town Hall; Eastchester, NY
Liebowitz Family (2); New York, NY
Roots of Westchester County; White Plains, NY


Life Magazine
Iconagraphy of Stradivari
American Artist
Readers' Digest
Epic of Man - Life
The Plate Collection Magazine
Birds of Tikai - Museum of Natural History
The World Book Encyclopedia
Man and Power - Western Publishing
The Golden Book of American History
(in 12 volumes - 300 paintings by Tobey)

Corporate collections:

ABC TV; New York, NY
Charles Pfizer Co.; New York, NY
Readers' Digest; Pleasantville, NY
Ciba-Geigy; Ardsley NY
American Cyanamid; Bound Brook, NJ
General Foods Corp.; White Plains, NY
Evyan Perfumes; New York, NY


Albert Einstein
Pope John Paul II
Ronald Reagan
Charles Pfizer
Golda Meir
Alexander Calder
Cardinal Cooke
Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins
Robert Merrill
E. Ronald Harriman
Robert Frost
Douglas MacArthur
Alfred DelBello
Robert Merrill
John L. Lewis
Charles Picker
John F. Kennedy & Robert Kennedy

Government & other projects:

Neuberger Museum; Purchase, NY
Dept. of Commerce; Washington, DC
Amer. Machine/Foundry; White Plains, NY
President's Council on Fitness; Wash., DC
Yonkers Professional Hospital; Yonkers, NY
Iona College; New Rochelle, NY
NYU Law Library; New York, NY
Jewish Community Center; White Plains, NY
Instituto Norteamericano del Arte; Mexico
American Center; Stockholm, Sweden
Amer. Bureau of Shipping; New York, NY
The National Academy; New York, NY
St. Patrick's Cathedral; New York, NY
St. Francis Hospital; Hartford, CT
Elmira College; Elmira, NY
Hofstra University; Long Island, NY
Murray Av. School; Larchmont, NY
Mercy College; Dobbs Ferry, NY

Limited editions:

Royal Doulton Plates; London, England
Lucien Picard; New York, NY
Scafa Tournabene; West Nyack, NY
Numa, Ltd.; Akron, OH

International collections:

Copenhagen, Denmark; Minori, Italy;
Jerusalem, Israel; Lima, Peru;
LaRochelle, France; Stockholm, Sweden;
Athens, Greece; Buenos Aires, Argentina;
Guatemala City, Guatemala;
Mexico City, Mexico; Tepotzian, Mexico

One Man Shows:

Mari Gallery; Woodstock, NY
American Center; Stockholm, Sweden
Alliance Galleria; Copenhagen, Denmark
Cape East Gallery; Provincetown, MA
Pietrantoni Gallery; New York, NY
Bridge Gallery; White Plains, NY
Mamaroneck Artists' Guild; Larchmont, NY
Silvermine Artists Guild; New Canaan, CT
Instituto Mexicano Norteamericano; Mexico
Galleria Satellite; Mexico City, Mexico
Alan Brown Gallery; Hartsdale, NY
Burliuk Gallery; New York, NY
Katonah Gallery; Katonah, NY

One Man Shows: (continued)

Portrait Gallery; Westport, CT
Charles Mann Gallery; New York, NY
Casa de Aquarella, Mexico City, Mexico
Monserrat Gallery; New York, NY
Larchmont Art Gallery; Larchmont, NY
Jewish Center; New Haven, CT
Alice Tully Hall; Lincoln Center, NYC
Riverside Museum; New York, NY
Westchester Art Society; White Plains, NY
Byways Gallery; Sarasota, FL
Byways Gallery; Bar Harbor, ME
Gladstone Gallery; Woodstock, NY
Bloomingdales; White Plains, NY
Jalapa Festival, 1993
Art on Tour; 2-year traveling show

Group shows:

University of Delaware; Newark, DE
University of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, PA
Trinity College; Hartford, CT
Yale School of Fine Arts; New Haven, CT
Sara Lawrence College; Bronxville, NY
Bennington College; Bennington, VT
University of Maine; Orono, ME
Cork Gallery, Lincoln Center; NYC
Lever Brothers; New York, NY
Broome Street Gallery; New York, NY
Artists Equity Gallery; New York, NY
Mamaroneck Artists Guild; Mamaroneck, NY
Hudson River Museum; Yonkers, NY
Westchester Art Society; White Plains, NY
Silvermine Guild; New Canaan, CT
White Plains Library; White Plains, NY
Larchmont Library; Larchmont, NY
Radison Hotel; Mexico City, Mexico
Hammond Museum; North Salem, NY
Union Carbide; New York, NY
Mitsikushi; Tokyo, Japan
National Art Gallery; New York, NY
Gloucester, MA
Manchester, VT
Newport, RI


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