Artwork of the Week: May 2018 (Week 19)
Mahonri M. Young (1877-1957), Riding the Girder, c.1940, oil on canvas, 42 3/8 x 39 ½ inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.
In many countries, the first day of May is known as International Workers’ Day—a holiday for celebrating the working and labor classes. Such sentiments were close to Mahonri Young’s heart, as he called his paintings of workers “a tribute to honest toil.” While wealthy industrial tycoons received much recognition for America’s advancement in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the nation’s industry was built on the backs of immigrant workers, represented in this piece by Young’s two figures precariously perched on a girder high above the ground.