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Riding the Girder

Mahonri M. Young (1877–1957), Riding the Girder, c.1940, oil on canvas, 42 3/8 x 39 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of Mahonri M. Young Estate.

MAHONRI M. YOUNG (1877–1957)

Young’s depiction of skyscrapers, painted while he lived in New York City, lends a monumental and heroic feel to laborers in the burgeoning metropolis. Between the two world wars, when Young painted this work, a great boom in construction and industry solidified America’s identity as a world power and economic giant. While wealthy industrial tycoons received much recognition for America’s advancement, the nation’s industry was built on the backs of immigrant workers, represented by Young’s two figures precariously perched on the high girder.

Curricular Resources

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