A stark, eerie, machine age/industrial revolution 1938 Works Progress Administration sponsored oil painting by Thomas Tyrone Comfort, this darkly modernist view titled “Heat on Steel” features a haunting view of an arc welder at work in a surrealist factory. This large scale painting was created as public art and exhibited by the Federal Arts Project in 1938 and retains its original verso label. 1938 marked the height of the WPA art movement, and Comfort was one of its promising talents, creating evocatively expressive, and moody visions of Depression era science and industry. His career was cut short in 1939 when the artist passed away at the young age of 30.
Born in Port Huron, Michigan, Thomas Tyrone Comfort (1909-1939) studied art with Walter Barron Currier and Leo Katz. His work hangs in the White House and the work pictured at the bottom of this listing is part of The Smithsonian Institute’s permanent collection. In his short career, the artist also created a mural for the State Board of Business Education in San Diego.